- For the Street variant, see BMW M3 GTR (Street)
It was originally fitted with a 3.2L inline-six engine based on the engine of the standard E46 M3. The car first entered the GT class of the American Le Mans Series in 2000, in which it only took a single victory and was beaten on several occasions by the Porsche 911 GT3-R.
A newly developed P60B40 V8 engine was quickly placed into the race car before the beginning of the 2001 season. It was developed alongside the BMW V10 engine that was used to power Williams Formula 1 cars during the 2001 F1 season. The old engine was ditched as BMW's engineers couldn't squeeze any more horsepower out of it.
The new engine gave the BMW M3 GTR a competitive edge over the Porsche 911 GT3-R and allowed the M3 GTR to win seven out of the ten events in the GT category in the 2001 season.
Porsche claimed during the 2001 ALMS season that BMW had violated the ALMS entry rules and the spirit of Gran Turismo. This was based on the fact that the V8 engine in the M3 GTR was not available in any road legal BMW M3.
BMW produced 10 road going GTR models for sale after the 2001 ALMS season ended as the rules required that the entered cars must be placed on sale on two continents within twelve months of the season beginning.
The ALMS rules were changed for the GT class heading into the 2002 season, and required that at least 100 units as well as 1,000 engines be built for a car to qualify. The revised rules forced BMW to pull the M3 GTR from the following American Le Mans Series season.
However, it made its return to motorsport when the BMW-backed Schnitzer Motorsport team entered two M3 GTRs for the 2003 24 Hours of Nürburgring endurance race. The M3 GTR participated in the race for the following two years and scored a 1-2 victory for the team in 2004 and 2005.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
The BMW M3 GTR appears in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and is available from the beginning of the career mode.
The career partially revolves around the M3 GTR as it is the player's car at the beginning of the game until it is sabotaged. The car will be returned to the player after defeating Blacklist racer #1 - Razor - which also unlocks it for Quick Race play.
The M3 GTR has strong handling capabilities and can reach a high top speed of 242 mph (389 km/h), however, it receives a mediocre speed boost from its nitrous injection.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0
The BMW M3 GTR appears in Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 and is unlocked upon defeating Blacklist Racer #1 - Clarence "Razor" Callahan. It comes with a unique livery not featured in other releases meaning visual customisation and performance upgrade options are not available for the car.
The M3 GTR has the most powerful acceleration of all the cars in the game along with a high top speed and handling rating.
Need for Speed: Carbon
The start of the career sees the player escaping the pursuit of Cross whom is now a bounty hunter. The player has their M3 GTR although they won't be able to escape as they drive into a construction area as they approach the base of the canyon, which results in the car getting totalled.
Performance-wise, the M3 GTR has a lower top speed than other tier 3 Exotic class cars, but makes up for it with great handling.
Need for Speed: World
The BMW M3 GTR appeared in the closed alpha release of Need for Speed: World. In beta builds of the game, the vehicle was replaced with a custom BMW M3 (E46) featuring a body kit and spoiler that resemble the BMW M3 GTR.
The files for the BMW M3 GTR were later re-added near the end of 2010, and could be found in the directory of the game, but Its mesh and texture files were removed in later builds of the game.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
Purchasing the Need for Speed Heroes Pack will unlock a Most Wanted racer within single player that will reward the player with the M3 GTR upon completion. It is unlocked in multiplayer upon the player completing 24 SpeedList events in Sports cars.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012) (Mobile)
The M3 GTR appears as an Exotic class car in the iOS and Android releases. It is unlocked and given to the player for free upon completing the #1 Most Wanted event. Its best trait is depicted as acceleration, although speed and handling are also rated high.
Need for Speed: No Limits
The M3 GTR appears in Need for Speed: No Limits as part of 3.2.2 update and featured in the "Need for Speed: Urban Legend" special event that took place from December 12, 2018 to December 19, 2018. The starting performance rating is 518.
- "Need for Speed: Urban Legend" special event
- Black Market
Receive 400 mechanic level XP by building up and 1400 mechanic level XP by fully staging up this car.
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Need for Speed: Edge
The M3 GTR appears in Need for Speed: Edge.
- The M3 GTR appears on the box art of Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
- The M3 GTR is often erroneously associated to be Razor's car; even though it is the player's car. Razor drives a black Ford Mustang GT.
- The BMW M3 GTR depicted on the box art of Need for Speed: Most Wanted features a different wheel design compared to the M3 GTR that appears in the title. The in-game model features a set of 20-spoke rims although the box-art model features a set of 5 spokes at the hub which split into 10 towards the wheel hoop.
- In Need for Speed: Most Wanted, the player can keep the M3 GTR at heat level 6 as long as they do not modify any of its visual attributes and use other cars for race events.
- The BMW M3 GTR driven by the player during the prologue sections of Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Need for Speed: Carbon has reduced performance to provide an easier introductory driving experience.
- The player races against an M3 GTR in a Gold Ranked Canyon Duel Challenge Series event in Need for Speed: Carbon.
- The M3 GTR is seen in the Gold Ranked Canyon Checkpoint Challenge featured in Need for Speed: Carbon.
- The BMW M3 (E46) in Need for Speed: ProStreet, Need for Speed: Undercover, Need for Speed: World, and Need for Speed (2015) can be equipped with a body kit that resembles the M3 GTR.
- A unique Deluxe M3 E46 based on the M3 GTR can be unlocked in Need for Speed (2015) with purchase of its Deluxe Edition.
- A unique Most Wanted M3 E46 based on the M3 GTR can be unlocked in Need for Speed: Payback when available as an abandoned car.
- The TV show 'Tuner Transformation' created a replica of the BMW M3 GTR based on an E46 330Ci.
- An unused vinyl for the M3 GTR in Need for Speed: Most Wanted resembles the 2004 Schnitzer Motorsport M3 GTR livery, which won the 24 Hours Nürburgring endurance race that year.
- The M3 GTR was the first car produced and shown for internal presentations of Criterion Games' Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012), but was not included as part of the release car lineup.
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