The M3 does not hold up quite as well with its GT sibling as the GT3 does. The M3 is much heavier and also was outperformed by a greater margin. Certainly normal for the race car to be much faster and we would love to see the GTS used instead but since that car is not for sale in the United States it is understandable why it was not. Race car driver Tommy Milner (who left BMW for Corvette racing since this was published) gives his thoughts on how the street car compares:
“The street tire on the M3 is lots of fun. It allows you to get a little bit sideways, even in the brake zones. There’s such a forgiving nature to the car…the M3 race car, on the other hand, is a lot more visceral. Everything happens faster. You feel more g forces. The cornering loads are a lot higher. I have the confidence to drive it into the corners very deep. Having said that, when you drive both cars—and I’m sure the lap times are quite a bit different—the race car still feels like it’s a BMW M3.”
The M3 S65 V8 is not based on the race motor as the GT3 is. The M3 GT V8 has a flat-plane crank, different internals, and different heads. Simply put, the similarities between the motors in these cars are the displacement and cylinder count. Everything else is different. The race car also does not feature a dual clutch transmission like the street car which interestingly Tommy Milner says he prefers the DCT trans even to the manual. High praise for the trans, certainly.
The street M3 is simply far from its racecar counterpart. A cool comparison to see, but it just goes to show how the M3 has become heavy and soft while cars like the Porsche GT3 get stronger and leaner. The gap here has become so large it makes this comparison look silly. The M3 used to be closer to the mark, a shame.