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BMW will be debuting its latest flagship GT racer soon – the BMW M6 GT3 has taken to the circuit for the first time on the test track at the company’s Dingolfing plant, still clad in the traditional BMW swirly camouflage ahead of its race debut in 2016.

Starting with the production M6‘s bodyshell, BMW Motorsport tacked on a menacing GT3-spec aerodynamic package as well as an FIA-approved roll cage that complies with the latest safety standards. Despite being a larger car than the Z4 GT3 that came before, the company claims a weight of under 1,300 kg.

Propulsion is handled by the M6’s 4.4 litre twin-turbocharged V8 but tweaked for racing duty, including dry-sump lubrication. A power output of over 500 hp is claimed; due to air restrictors required under GT3 regulations, we’re expecting it to fall short of the 560 hp the production car makes.

“This is a big moment for everyone who has worked so intensely and passionately on the development of the BMW M6 GT3 in recent months,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “We are well on schedule with the development, and are confident we will be able to take to the track in 2016 with a package that is competitive from the outset.”

“It is a fantastic moment when you walk into the garage and see this stunningly beautiful car,” said BMW works racer Jorg Müller. “I am very proud to have taken it out for its first few kilometres. A roll-out is obviously just an initial performance test but, on the whole, everything was very good and we had no problems. The engine really impressed me. It is powerful and has good torque, which is important for a car like this.”