It’s not everyday that you can attend a national racecar launch in the middle of an arts festival, but such events do sometimes occur during Adelaide’s so-called Mad March, on that one beautiful weekend when the Fringe and Clipsal 500 festivals collide so gloriously.
With this weekend’s Clipsal 500 event being the first championship race of the season, Australian GT teams have been scrambling to get their hands on the latest machinery from Europe in time to do battle on the streets of Adelaide. Some haven’t quite made it (Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3), but others have and the BMW M6 GT3 is one of them.
The all-new model’s only competitive outing so far has been at the Rolex Daytona 24hrs in February where it came sixth in class, which means very few people outside of Munich or Florida have seen one in person. The BMW Group Australia supported entry wasn’t expected arrive in Australia in time for the Clipsal event, but a surpise January delivery allocation made it a last-minute reality. Save for a test day at Winton last week (when the entire body was still in bare dry carbon), this chassis is yet to turn a competitive wheel.
Local BMW dealer Adelaide Motors managed to secure the BMW Team SRM M6 as soon as it arrived in Adelaide, and held what would end up being the livery release and the first Australian showing of the car in a low-key event at The Stag hotel in Adelaide’s pumping East End.
Pumping on a Tuesday night? In February and March, yes. As it just so happened The Rubens (winners of the 2015 Triple J Hottest 100 amongst many other recent accolades) were playing a free open-air concert in Ebenezer Place, and the staging of the M6 GT3 meant we effectively had backstage passes to the concert. With the crowd of launch attendees inside listening to speaches, friend of AGR Luke Jaksa and myself had the new M6 GT3 to ourselves and The Rubens playing live while we took the photos. It was a pretty cool moment.
BMW Team SRM are running as a customer team, with the same support from BMW’s Motorsport division as every team that purchases an M6 GT3. In a cute historical tie-in as the Richards family return to BMW, Team SRM is headed by multi Bathurst winner Steven Richards who is sharing the drive this season with Max Twigg. As the car is so new, this weekend in Adelaide there are three German engineers from BMW Motorsport helping to run the car and teach the team.
The gearbox is a Ricardo sequential transaxle unit, which interestingly houses and drives the generator to run the air-conditioning. It sounds like a luxury, but the driver needs to be performing at peak level and they can’t do this in 50deg heat.
As is the case with most of the current generation factory GT3 racers that are vastly different in concept to their production counterparts (unlike the McLaren 650S GT3, for example) there’s not really any production M6 left in the body and chassis. The body is made entirely of carbon and was honed in BMW’s wind tunnel, and has a completely flat undertray. The only prodution items we could recognise were the headlights, taillights, badge, and interestingly…
Like most factory built competition cars, for those of us who screw racecars together in our sheds the M6 GT3 is a glowing target of what we should be aiming for, and what’s physically possible with enough resources.
It’s fascinating to inspect, but I doubt that knowing these details will increase my enjoyment watching the racing this weekend. If anything it will stress me out. I mean, how could you flick this thing into Senna Chicane on lap one, rubbing door-handle-to-door-handle, knowing how much thought has gone into those door hinges and how much care has been put into forming those carbon panels?
Words and photos by Andrew Coles.Adelaide #Adelaide Motors #Adelaide Street Circuit #Australian GT #BMW #BMW Motorsport #BMW Team SRM #Clipsal 500 #FIA GT3 #M #M6 #M6 GT3 #Steven Richards #Team SRM #The Stag