EX-BATHURST 24 HOUR BMW M3 V8 EMERGES FOR SALE

John Bowe leads Greg Murphy through the Esses during the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

AN ULTRA-RARE, V8-powered BMW M3 GTR that competed in the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour has emerged for sale.

Built in 2001, it was the last of five E46 GTRs produced by Tom Milner’s Prototype Technology Group (PTG) on behalf of BMW North America for use in the Grand Am Series.

The BMW M3 E46 GTR V8 as it sits today. Pic: Niko French Media

While the first three used the M3’s inline six-cylinder motor, the category’s rules permitting engine swaps within a marque’s portfolio meant the last two cars featured the M5-sourced 4.9L V8 (S62B50).

This car was fielded by Aasco/Boduck Racing in the 2001 Daytona 3-Hour Grand-Am season finale and the following year’s 24 Hours of Daytona and Grand Am 400 at California Speedway.

Pic: Niko French Media

It was then purchased by Australian-based Indonesian businessman Maher Algadri for PHR Scuderia’s assault on the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour, where it was co-driven by John Bowe, Neil Crompton, Greg Crick and Algadri.

The car was touted pre-race as the biggest threat to the two Holden Monaros in the second and what proved final running of the twice-around-the-clock Bathurst enduro.

Pic: Niko French Media

However, it did not arrive from California until just a fortnight out from the November 22-23 race, putting the team around a month behind its intended preparation schedule.

With only limited pre-event track running in Australia, the car had various teething issues throughout the Bathurst weekend.

Pic: Niko French Media

That didn’t stop PHR regular Bowe from putting the car third on the grid, albeit his 2:17.6832s best set in the night qualifying session was over four seconds slower than the pole-sitting Holden!

The BMW’s troubled race came to an abrupt end at 9:30pm when contact between Algadri and the Peter Brock-driven, eventual race-winning #05 Monaro at the top of the Mountain put the BMW into the wall.

The 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour was this car’s last race. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

It was a disappointing outcome for all involved including Crompton, for whom the event marked a race return having retired from V8 Supercar duties at the end of the previous year.

“I loved that BMW, and always had a soft spot for left-hand-drive race cars,” Crompton recalled in his new book, Best Seat in the House, now available in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

Bowe at the wheel during the wet early stages of the race. Pic: an1images.com./ Andrew Hall

“Unfortunately, I got a call in the middle of the night not to bother coming back to the track for my next stint. Maher had tangled up with someone on the track and the car was damaged, so we all got to sleep in!”

At the time, PHR team manager Terry Little was furious with Brock over the incident and estimated the damage at $100,000.

The car’s race ended in the darkness. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

“Brock was driving like a lunatic, I was highly unimpressed,” Little told Motorsport News.

“There is no need for it – the 24 Hour race is a race with slower cars, and to be winning by three or four laps, it just doesn’t seem necessary.”

Pic: Niko French Media

According to its listing through dealership YTG, the car was retired from competition after the Bathurst 24 Hour event and placed in a private collection.

It has been advertised together with a comprehensive parts package with no price listed.