BMW, along with many other car manufacturers (Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ford, GM, Nissan) is continuing to invest /develop in its customer racing program, and another new race car is on the way. Since the M235i Racing (M235iR) became available back in 2017, the popularity for BMW’s entry-level race car has soared, and racing grids across the U.S. and Europe have become home to stronger BMW representation ever since. Following up on the success of the M235i Racing, BMW released the M240i Racing (M240iR) last year, and the updated B58-powered model has since become quite popular, and proven itself a worthy competitor on the circuit and in many series as well. This is not to take away from club racers that have developed the E36 M3, the E46 M3, even the E92 M3, but there is a significant step forward with a factory race car.
BMW Motorsport offers more potent race cars, like the M4 GT4, M6 GT3, and the M8 GTLM, all of which also enjoy a strong presence in their respective classes. But the high cost to run, service, maintain, and other barriers to entry to such a high level of competition still mean the market for such vehicles is rather limited. With the previous 2 Series M Performance Racing models, BMW has provided an avenue into motorsport that is attracting more individuals to the sport, and an excellent stepping stone for those looking to move beyond spec and club racing (and vice versa, the prior 2 series models are now making their way into Club Racing and DE events). It had been reported BMW was going to announce development of a M2 Competition-based vehicle that is built specifically for the customer racing program last month. In the time since, BMW has released camouflaged press photos of the car, and this past month, brought it out to the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, where it completed 28 laps for the sole purpose of gathering real-world data in a real-world race environment. What could be referred to as the M2 Racing has also already completed testing procedures at other tracks, like Portimão and BMW’s own facility in Miramas, France. After running at the Nürburgring, BMW Motorsport Junior drivers reported positive results and a great experience, adding that driving the new car was a lot of fun—as we might expect.
The M2 Racing brings a number of improvements to the table over its 2 series predecessors. While the M235i racing used the respected N55 engine, and the M240i the slightly more robust B58, the M2 Competition, the model upon which the M2 customer race car will be based, uses a true BMW Motorsport engine, the S55. Couple this with improved suspension and running gear from the M3 and M4, which was also present on the original M2, and the M2 Racing starts to take shape as a serious upgrade. Technical details aside though, BMW also has a few years of providing a form of factory support to customer racing in the form of the M235i and M240i Racing models under its belt now, and the lessons learned here are undoubtedly being directly applied to M2 Racing development (parts, support, software development, ABS settings, traction control settings, tire wear, etc).
The first deliveries of the new M2 Competition-based customer race car are scheduled to begin during the second quarter of next year (2020). It will be offered in two versions; a conventional Racing trim, and a better-equipped Clubsport setup.