Issue 2: Wallpaper Wednesday - BMW E46 GTR
If you were playing video games in the mid-2000s the next issue of Wallpaper Wednesday will probably be a bit of an Icon for you. Yes, we are of course taking about the BMW E46 GTR which was the poster boy for hugely popular, Need for Speed: Most Wanted video game. The GTR wasn’t just a car drawn up to feature in a video game, it a real world race car where it largely competed in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and a few endurance races in Europe. Keep reading and download your free GTR wallpaper.
The car came to life in early 2001 to compete against Porsche in the ALMS GT class powered by a 4.0L V8 which kicked out around 500bhp. Porsche were very quick to point the finger that the regular E46 road car did not feature a V8 engine and the car should be placed into the prototype class. In 2002 the rules in the ALMS changed which meant manufacturers had to produce 100 cars and 1,000 engines for the car to compete without accruing penalties. Although BMW could have continued to compete with the V8 engine they decided to withdraw from the ALMS ending the short lived career of the E46 GTR. The cars were taken into private hands by Schnitzer Motorsport in 2003 and won the Nürburgring 24hr outright in 2005 and 2005, proving that the car had some serious potential.
Some positives did come out of this though. To initially get the car on the track in 2001 the ALMS regulations required manufacturers to sell road going versions of their cars across two different continents. This resulted in BMW manufacturing 10 road going versions of the E46 M3 GTR on sale across the USA and Europe for a whopping €250,000! The V8 engine was present, however was tweaked slightly to meet regulations for the road as well as the vast majority of aero packages seen on the race car removed. The road going E46 GTR actually didn’t look too dissimilar to the regular E46 M3 available at the time except for a couple of vents on the hood, slightly different front bumper and a small carbon boot spoiler.
To wrap up a quick summary of what is a hero many, but often seen as a forgotten icon on the track, the BMW E46 GTR could certainly give other manufacturers a run for its money on the circuit. However with additional hurdles being added to technical regulations it meant BMW had to cut the lifespan of the E46 GTR short.
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