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Under the Hood: Tips and Tricks to Driving the BMW M6 GT3

Out in the wild, where beasts roam free, there are always some you avoid and some you can tame. Well, oddly enough, cars also fall under a similar category. There are some cars that you just can’t tame. But thankfully, we can control all cars if you know how to drive them. This time, we take a look at the BMW M6 GT3 and discover ways to not only tame the beast but to get the maximum out of it.

Introduction to the BMW M6 GT3

Launched in 2016, the M6 GT3 is based on the BMW M6 Coupé. The car is powered by a modified 4.4-litre V8 engine with the iconic BMW Motorsport M Twinpower Turbo technology. It has a transaxle 6-speed sequential transmission allowing the vehicle to produce up to 550bhp. With a total weight of 1,300 kilos, the GT3 is the quickest M6 out there.

The car competes in the GT World Challenge Europe in the Sprint Cup and Endurance Cup. As a winner of the 2018 Spa-Francorchamps 24H race, the BMW has the grit needed to be one of the best cars in the game, maybe even the best. Something that sets it apart, however, is the fact it is front-engined, allowing a different approach to your driving than a classic mid-engined or rear-engined car, for example, a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo. So, it’s time to learn how to tackle this machine.

The Basic Car Setup

Before you set out to conquer the M6, it is vital to calibrate the car to your liking, especially when you seek peak performance.

The car performs well when the aero platform is stable, thanks to the long wheelbase and long undertray. The vehicle also favours understeer when using a default setup, thanks to its front-engine position. However, this is advantageous as it allows you to attack the corners with much more confidence. A few tweaks will enable you to exploit the super-stable steering to your strengths.

However, while you can get away with a softer suspension, the M6’s bodywork has low overhangs that can kiss the kerbs when you ride over them. Hence, a compromise will have to be made in ride height and maybe stiffer dampers/lower bumpstop ranges to keep the aero platform consistent. Another parameter that you need to be extremely cautious about is tyre pressure. The BMW M6 GT3 is a little on the heavier side, and with a front-engine design, tire pressures play a vital role in determining the amount of surface grip you have with your tires, especially while cornering.

You will need to put in numerous laps to find the right balance for you. After all, sim racing involves putting in some serious shifts in a particular car until you find your calling. However, you can speed the process by checking out Coach Dave’s BMW M6 GT3 Car Setup. All Coach Dave Academy Setups have been handcrafted to build a safe baseline for you to start from. These setups can be modified with minimal customisation (if any) to suit your driving style and help improve your performance professionally.

Aerodynamics and Bodywork

As mentioned earlier, the overhang on the bodywork is pretty low on the M6, and the bodywork can be a bit questionable when you want to go bumper to bumper with your rivals. But there is no denying that the BMW M6 GT3 is a big machine, and the car’s dimensions result in a considerable area of underbody aerodynamics.

The front splitter is impressive and highly effective, and the length of the rear diffuser is quite significant. Additionally, the exhausts have lateral exits that do not interfere with the diffuser aero flow. Many more intricate details can be found all around the bodywork, achieving significant downforce on par with the top of the class. Although, the total drag inevitably stays a bit high given the big frontal area. 

Amid modern cars with high aerodynamics, higher downforce packages often lead to vehicles being overly sensitive to pitch and roll. This can cause engineers to base setups to correct the actions which make cars horrible to drive at low speeds. Thankfully, the M6 is able to correct for the sensitivity to some extent. A longer undertray and a long wheelbase combined with a slightly understeering nature allow the BMW to be easy to drive at high speeds as well as low speeds. When under forward pitch (namely coasting and braking), the stable aerodynamic platform allows more natural driving techniques.

This is not to be confused with suspension as the car does have sensitive suspension. As mentioned earlier, you may get away with a softer suspension with stiffer dampers and higher ride height, but the BMW prefers less suspension travel to keep the rolling and pitching to a minimum.

Beware of high wing angles as the car is already a bit on the draggier side, and the rear wing angle can slow you down more than it needs to. Play with the wing angles until you find the right balance to offer downforce along with top-end speed.

Steering and Cornering

The M6 is even bigger than the Bentley Continental GT3, especially in length and wheelbase. This same aspect, together with the impressive twin-turbo V8, define the handling characteristics of the BMW. 

At low speeds, the car offers exceptional turn-in and minimal understeer at power exits. Some understeer is also present at the apex of slow turns, something typical for such a big car with a front-weight bias, but it provides confidence to attack the corners at entry and can be smartly controlled by the drivers. As the speed increases, a large amount of stable downforce result in a very confidence-inspiring car that can be pushed at high speeds.

If a driver makes the occasional mistake, it is relatively easier to correct. Overcooking the entry to high-speed corners is also less punishing as the BMW is easy on the sensitivity, something opposite to a Huracan, for example. The BMW M6 showcases excellent stability and honest reactions, allowing the driver to attack and trust the car without significant setup compromises. 

However, the long wheelbase and body provide stability at the cost of agility. The car can be sluggish at narrow turns, chicanes, and fast direction changes as the vehicle can turn in fast but needs some time to take a set and keep the line. Lastly, the M6 is also partial to kerbs, and it is the driver’s responsibility to gauge which kerbs can be used and which ones have to be avoided.

Power Delivery and Braking

The car permits some aggressive driving and a slightly less precise style, but it excels when the input is smooth, both on the steering wheel and on the throttle. The smoother you drive, the more speed you gain. The advanced Traction Control is finetuned for safe driving, but lowering it to level 3 or less will allow even more forward acceleration if you are smooth on your throttle input, allowing you to drive around the TC as much as possible. The key to gaining as much time as possible is by being super precise with every input on the car.

The car produces 650 Nm of torque, and the torque curve is beautiful, flat and infinite. As for the transmission, your gear shifting skills must be at the top. The car can be incredibly responsive on the throttle with power delivery even at 3000 RPM (you shouldn’t drive at lower RPMs anyway, or you risk losing a lot of time due to turbo lag), and the saturation starts at 6200 RPM. Use the excellent BMW 1st gear to get more engine braking/rotation, and once you cross the 2nd gear, you will begin cruising at high speeds. Keep changing gears as fast as possible before the rev number reaches the top end (which will be super quick).

Turbo lag is expected, but the lag disappears after crossing 2500 RPM after which, the torque takes over. All this torque can easily cause the BMW to be twitchy under power oversteer. Still, the TC system will help both amateur and professional drivers familiarise themselves with the car’s limits in no time. Try not to overdo it, though, as, after the smooth and gentle initial drift, the long rear end starts to slide and continues to slide, even more, mainly destroying the tyres out of everything else. But, keep it together, and you’ll be rewarded with a best in class acceleration out of the turns. Another point where no car can defeat the BMW M6 GT3 is in straight-line speed.

It is one thing to catch up to a car and another to overtake it. Even the Huracan and the Ferrari 488 will struggle to overtake the BMW on the straights. Although, they will catch you on the corners. The car arrives at a high top speed very fast and then hits a wall of air resistance as the drag comes into the picture and decelerates the vehicle. This is when other smaller cars will start closing up to you towards the braking zone and subsequent corners. Note that this behaviour is heavily dependent on the boost table of the car at each track and its BOP.

However, as long as they are high-speed corners, you’ll still have some edge. This car likes trail braking, but choose your tracks wisely, and the BMW will reward you with a top finish and incredible driving experience.

Summary

The BMW M6 GT3 is a car loved by many due to its unique looks and ability to be one of the best race cars when the track suits its characteristics. The BMW will give you jaw-dropping top-end speed (when the track favours the car), with the added benefit of a stable platform giving you consistent performance throughout a stint. These characteristics can be attributed to its turbocharged engine and its long wheelbase. On many technical tracks, the car may suffer due to the many compromises you might have to make with your setups, such as Barcelona and Hungaroring.

In addition to this, the car behaves well on its fuel consumption and, when managed well, will allow you to stretch stint times. It must be noted; to set up the BMW, you must make sure to set up the bump stops correctly as its inherently soft suspension will cause the car to use up its travel relatively easily.

The BMW M6 GT3 is a car of specialisation, giving the driver peak performance when the track matches its characteristics. The car rewards a clean and smooth driving style. Driving the M6 helps you improve your driving skill and technique, which makes this a car of the masses. If you’d like to learn how to master the BMW or any other car while improving your sim racing skills, be sure to check out the Coach Dave Academy. If you would like to prove your skills on the virtual tracks, head over to The Sim Grid to browse championships or simply race in daily events at Daily Racing. Until next time!

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