What you see above is the first glimpse of BMW's upcoming M4 GT4 racer. It is set to supersede the popular M3 GT4 as BMW's offering for GT4 class race championships. The car will be based on the BMW M4 Coupé, boasting the same drivetrain and electronics.

The GT4 series is effectively open to all and aimed at offering competitive racing by way of equally balanced cars, on high profile tracks. BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt says the carmaker sees potential in the GT4 market, which it hopes to unlock with its newly-developed GT racer.

"The GT4 category is currently experiencing a boom," explains Marquardt. "It offers affordable motorsport with cars of technical high-quality and, therefore, attracts a wide target audience."

Designed for use by privateer teams, the M4 GT4 has been positioned by BMW to fill a gap between its "customer racing spearhead" M6 GT3 and the newcomer M235i Racing. The drivetrain is based around the M4 Coupé's 3.0-l twin-turbocharged straight-six engine, albeit with some minor tweaks. BMW tells Gizmag the engine will be tuned to kick out between 430 bhp (321 kW) and 480 bhp (358 kW), depending on the racing series in which it is competing.

Elsewhere, it will feature a carbon hood from the M4 GTS and seats, brakes and the pedal box from the M6 GT3. The doors, motorsport front splitter and rear wing will all be forged from carbon fiber and there'll be a racing exhaust system fitted.

BMW expects teams from around the world to compete using the M4 GT4, citing Germany, Europe, North America and Asia as having particularly suitable conditions in which to run it. It also hopes to use the M4 GT4 as a means of readying younger drivers for the more powerful GT3 class by way of the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

BMW expects to finish the first round of tests by the end of this year, with the first deliveries expected to be made to customers in the second half of next year. The first potential race appearance for the M4 GT4 will be the 24 Hours of Dubai in January 2018.

Source: BMW