If you haven't checked this out, this is an awesome review with a test drive on the ALMS GT car .
[size=3]BMW M3 GT Race Car - Feature Test
Class Warfare: We go to Sebring for a 154-mph blast in a big-winged BMW M3 GT.
BY MARK GILLIES, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC URBANO
In these dark economic times, the number of automakers willing to throw vast sums of money at auto racing has dwindled. Honda, Toyota, BMW, and Renault have either walked away from Formula 1 or reduced their financial commitment. Automakers have cut back the cash they have been spending in NASCAR. And in sports-car racing, only Audi and Peugeot are running fully funded programs in the fastest prototype classes, with more prudent efforts coming from Aston Martin and Honda Performance Development, which uses the Acura badge.
Yet, farther back in the 2010 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) field, where the cost of entry is lower, there is genuine manufacturer involvement in the Grand Touring class. These cars actually look similar to what we see on the street. That involvement can be covert, taking the form of development help to top privateer teams, as Ferrari does with Risi Competizione and Porsche with Flying Lizard. Or it can be a full-blooded factory effort, as with the Chevrolets and the BMWs. It can also be something in between, like the Jaguar-backed RSR team.
It’s exciting that the best competition in sports-car racing in North America this year will occur between real-looking cars rather than airplanes with wheels. All six of the cars that run in GT—BMW M3, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Ferrari F430, Ford GT-R, Jaguar XKR, and Porsche 911 GT3—already look great before the teams add big wings, wide wheel arches, deep front spoilers, and war paint. Dressed for battle, these cars are stunners, none more so than the M3 GT.
According to the rules for Grand Touring–class racing [see below], the M3 has to share a reasonable amount of components with its street cousin. The steel body shell is the same as the regular car’s but with a serious-looking roll cage welded inside. The engine has to retain production castings and the same displacement as the M3’s 4.0-liter V-8, although BMW changed the internal parts, switched to a flat-plane crank, and opened up the ports in the cylinder heads. Output is up 56 horsepower to 470.
Rest of test drive review here: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...r-feature_test