BMW will once again race in Australian motorsport.
Marc Werner, BMW Australia CEO, officially announced today in Melbourne the brand will compete in next year’s Australian GT Championship, saying its brand new BMW M6 GT3 monster will line up on next year’s grid.
Just two of the first 20 M6 GT3s to be built in Munich will make their way here, with BMW Australia snaring one and offering the second to customers.
The firm’s 2016 Australian GT effort will be headed by the eponymous Steve Richards Motorsport team, which will field the sole ‘factory’ BMW in the championship, with Steve Richards as a driver, and provide technical and customer support to privateer M6 GT3 entries.
With BMW as its sole sponsor, SRM Team BMW, as the outfit will be known, plans to fight Audis, McLarens, and Ferraris in all rounds of the GT Championship’s newly announced enduro calendar, which debuts at Phillip Island on May 29.
The news marks BMW’s first return to Australian motorsport in an ‘official’ capacity since involvement in local touring car championships that ceased after 1997.
During the press event Werner also denied V8 Supercars, the spiritual successor to the competition it won in 1985 and ’87, for the new program, even with new 2017 regulations set to open eligibility to coupe-bodies and all engine configurations.
“When we saw what was actually coming out of Europe as far as this global approach for GT customer racing, we decided this is the best fit for people in Australia moving forward, that’s why we ruled out any other motorsports engagement,” he said.
Neither will the brand race at the Bathurst 12-hour next year, as the current M6 GT3 won’t be homologated in time. However, SRM Team BMW intends to works towards being the basis for an international factory effort in 2017.
After the first M6 GT3s are delivered in February, SRM Team BMW’s will begin preparing its car for a debut at the Australian Grand Prix, March 17, where it will compete in the GT Championship’s second Sprint round.