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      10-31-2010, 01:35 PM   #1
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Thumbs up R&T: 2011 M3 Competition vs. M3 GT - Track Faceoff

Cool article street cars vs. their Le Mans race car counter parts

RESULTS:

Factory M3 lapped in 2:14
M3 GT race car lapped 1:47





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BMW M3 vs. M3 GT - Comparison Test
The ultimate racing machine?

September 17, 2010

With right foot firmly planted on the accelerator, Tommy Milner exits Turn 14 and uses the full width of the available tarmac to free up his M3 for a long blast down Miller’s lengthy front straight, the longest on the ALMS schedule. Without lifting, Milner upshifts via paddles at redline, the screaming 4.0-liter V-8 pushing the BMW through the thin mountain air and deep into triple digits. At the braking point for Turn 1, the tall 22-year-old proves his worth, slowing the car at nearly 1g while simultaneously calling for two perfect-blip downshifts and steering the car on the edge of adhesion right down to the apex, setting himself up for a full-throttle exit that puts the car on just the right path for the rhythm section that follows, which is oh-so-critical to another fast lap at Miller.

Just another day in his office—the cockpit of a Rahal Letterman BMW M3 GT?

Easily could have been. But Tommy’s actually at the wheel of a production BMW M3, a Melbourne Red Metallic road car equipped with the $2500 Competition Package, the $2500 Technology Package and the $2900 M double-clutch gearbox. And best of all, I’m seated right next to him.

“This is really fun,” says Milner, who admits two things: that he prefers the M3’s quick, mistake-free 7-speed paddle-shift dual-clutch transmission to the 6-speed manual, and that he hasn’t driven a road car on a track in a long time. “Street tires are so forgiving,” explains a wide-eyed Tommy, who says the production M3 felt great over the curbs and that the brake pedal got only a touch soft after several hot laps, but with no degradation in stopping force. What’s more, Milner shut the stability control off to address a mild mid-corner understeer that he describes as a 1 or a 2 on a scale of 1 to 5. “I can handle the oversteer,” he explains. “Yes, the M3 now can get a bit loose under braking, but I’d still say that it’s pretty close to neutral on entry. There really are no character flaws with this car. And on exit, with traction control off, it’s nice because I can drive off the corner with a little bit of slip angle. In general, though, the rear of the M3 is really hooked up.”

In Milner’s second session in the car, he’s dropped the fronts a few psi to improve front grip. It helps. “It’s made the M3 a bit more loose, for sure, but that’s fine.” That said, Milner feels the production M3 still has enough entry understeer to allow him to charge into a corner especially hard, then pick up full throttle and be gone. Interestingly, Milner thinks current teammate Bill Auberlen, a stop/go type of driver (arguably the most successful American BMW driver of the last 15 years), would love the M3 road car and its mild push. Dirk Mueller, last year’s teammate, however, prefers cars that are loose.

All told, Milner says two things would help him lap faster around Miller in the production M3: more power and grip. “That’s all I’d need. The confidence this car gives you right away is amazing...it does nothing bad. The M3 road car feels comfortable instantly. It’s a very friendly car.”

As Tommy grew up around his father’s PTG BMW racing team back in the mid-1990s (and also has a clean 1976 2002tii at home), that last comment isn’t exactly a surprise. Nevertheless, it is true, and it shows in the confident way that Milner flings both cars around the track.

About the race M3: Built by BMW Motorsport in Munich, the M3 GT is a serious race machine, a carbon-bodied 2745-lb. car with a heavily triangulated steel rollcage and a low-mounted dry-sump flat-crank 4.0-liter V-8 that puts out 470 bhp on E85 ethanol, breathing through twin 29.4-mm restrictors. A sequential transverse-mounted X-Trac transaxle is on duty in back, allowing no-lift shifts and moving weight to the rear, where ancillaries such as the air conditioning, starter, clutch, alternator and power steering are all located.

The M3 GT—with Dunlop race slicks and 6-pot AP disc brakes at each corner—is known for its handling and braking, and although ABS isn’t allowed the beautifully prepared car with a huge front splitter does have traction control, significantly improved by the BMW F1 guys for this season. Calling it “the best I’ve ever experienced,” Milner says it allows full-throttle exits from turns, at a variety of pre-set slip angles.

After climbing out of the M3 GT’s substantial carbon-fiber seat (mounted far back in the cockpit) and the requisite info download with engineer Chris Yanchar, Milner speaks: “This car is always fun to drive. It’s an M3. In one way, it’s just like an M3 road car with slicks and a carbon-fiber body. But it’s quite a bit different in that the speeds are way higher. It feels like a street-car M3 that has been on steroids for many, many years.”

Milner is pleased, because the setup of the car, right off the trailer, is pretty close. Because it has great balance, Milner says he can push from the word go, and drive amazingly deep into corners. The car is very stable, very comfortable, he says, in high-speed corners such as Turns 1, 2 and 3, just like the M3 road car. “The race car, though, is faster everywhere. Everything is much more visceral. You get thrown forward a lot more under braking.” Our data back up Milner’s internal g-meter, showing that in braking for Miller’s Turn 1, the production M3 decelerates at a respectable 0.92g, whereas the M3 GT does so at 1.35g, thanks in part to its stickier tires, aero downforce, lighter weight and larger brakes.

In the second session, Milner experiments with revised tire pressures and a stiffened rear anti-roll bar. It makes the car a bit loose, which probably won’t suit Auberlen’s tastes. “In race conditions, even if the car isn’t perfect,” explains Milner, “we have a car that’s comfortable to drive, a car we can drive at 100 percent every lap. I might like to throw a lot of wing on the car, but the engineers here at Rahal are always talking about keeping that wing trimmed out just to make sure we have that straight-line speed.”

Although our data reveal a large gap in performance between the road and track versions of the M3s around Miller, Milner says you can’t deny the similarities. “Both M3s are very much BMWs. And both have 50/50 weight distribution, which makes them so easy to drive. You can get in either car and immediately feel comfortable.”

Article

http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/co...w-m3-vs.-m3-gt

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      11-03-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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let the record reflect that i'm shocked the M3 GT won.
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      11-03-2010, 03:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
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let the record reflect that i'm shocked the M3 GT won.
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      11-03-2010, 04:47 PM   #4
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Looked like fun.

Too bad the car varies so much from the street version...has a rear transaxle, car is basically a mid engine car where the engine sits and not to mention it's a semi tube frame car
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      11-03-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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I would LOVE to experience 1.5g on the skidpad...

Looks like the Corvette street car is much closer to it's GT counterpart.
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      11-03-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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amazing info and vid
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      11-03-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3s-a-charm View Post
I would LOVE to experience 1.5g on the skidpad...

Looks like the Corvette street car is much closer to it's GT counterpart.
The Corvette is just a beast! It was practically a GT car to begin with. Not much to change!
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      11-03-2010, 07:14 PM   #8
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This is 'road and track's reason for being. Very, very cool.

They have very namby pamby articles on road cars (and comparos where they are too chicken to pick a winner so they have every author choose a different winner and put them on the sidebars) but here they are in their element.
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      11-03-2010, 08:13 PM   #9
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$70k car vs $800,000 car.
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      11-03-2010, 08:18 PM   #10
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The thing that I love about this... is everything :P Damn we have such a fine driving machine!
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      11-03-2010, 09:04 PM   #11
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IMO, it would have been more interesting to compare the the M3-GTS to the M3-GT
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      11-03-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayerischeperformance View Post
Too bad the car varies so much from the street version...has a rear transaxle, car is basically a mid engine car where the engine sits and not to mention it's a semi tube frame car
And control arm suspension all around, much wider, lower.... A totally different car. Hardly comparable IMO.
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      11-03-2010, 09:44 PM   #13
arter
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Compared to the other street cars, the M3 does good in the twisties, but has trouble accelerating as fast as the others on the long straight. More of a momentum car in this group than you would think.....

Hell, maybe I will have to put a S/C on this thing......( or learn to do the corners much better....
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      11-04-2010, 05:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmunro View Post
IMO, it would have been more interesting to compare the the M3-GTS to the M3-GT
+1
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      11-04-2010, 06:12 AM   #15
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Forgive my ignorance, but does stock M3 really have 1-piston caliper front and rear brake?
or am I missing something here?
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      11-04-2010, 08:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VantageV8 View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but does stock M3 really have 1-piston caliper front and rear brake?
or am I missing something here?
Yes it has
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      11-04-2010, 09:19 AM   #17
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$800,000...really?
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      11-04-2010, 09:29 AM   #18
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Noticed the street M3 was on Continental's. I drive that Miller track frequently and I bet Michelin PS2's would have shaved a second or two off the M3's time
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      11-04-2010, 06:47 PM   #19
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*yawn*
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      11-04-2010, 11:37 PM   #20
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I bought the mag a couple weeks ago and was searching for this vid.

Thanks for posting....
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      11-05-2010, 05:27 AM   #21
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Nice!


I saw that racecar at the M Power event recently. I would love to be in that around the track.
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      05-08-2012, 03:50 PM   #22
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R&T compares M3 and M3 GT

Not sure if a re-post but if you haven't seen it this is pretty cool:

http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/co...mw-m3-vs-m3-gt
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