Munich, Germany - It's a telling indication of how much work goes into the development of a world-class racing car that the first mock-up of the 2014 BMW M4 DTM racer went into the wind tunnel at the BMW Group's Aero Lab on 22 April 2013 - 13 days before the first race of the season at Hockenheim.
By the middle of the year the race shop was producing suspension components for the M4 DTM - which were initially tested in December in a 2013 M3 DTM mule - and all the new running gear was ready by Christmas, so the first two of the eight M4 DTM's that will be made could be assembled in January and February.
Finally, 300 days after the first wind-tunnel test, the M4 DTM made its track debut at Monteblanco in Spain on 11 February.
STANDARD MONOCOQUE CHASSIS
More than 50 of the 5000 components that make up a DTM racing car are in fact standard, and shared by all DTM cars, notably the carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, with its integrated fuel-tank, steel roll-cage and crash elements.
This not only keeps a lid on costs but also makes DTM racing cars among the best in the world in terms of crash protection.
Also standard across the series are the dampers, rear wing, clutch and six-speed sequential transaxle gearbox, pneumatically operated by paddle shifts, which comes with no less than 11 final-drive ratios to choose from when setting the car up for a given circuit.
The engine, however, is all BMW - a four-litre, naturally aspirated V8, restricted to about 350kW and 500Nm by the air restrictor specified in the technical regulations, that'll launch the M4 DTM from the start-line to 100km/h in three seconds flat.
But here's the kicker:
DTM regulations allow only 10 engines between the eight BMW DTM entries - for the whole season! That means at least six of the M4 DTM racers will do two official test sessions and 10 rounds (practice, qualifying and two races) on the same engine. Toughness is the name of the game here
A BMW M4 Coupé weighs less than a ton and a half ready for the road; the M4 DTM, thanks to the fact that practically its entire body is carbon fibre, weighs exactly 1110kg with its driver.
The new M4 DTM will be seen in public for the first time at the official test sessions at the Hungaroring from 31 March to 3 April, and Hockenheim from 14 to 17 April, but as BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: “Only at the first showdown at Hockenheim on 4 May will we find out exactly how competitive the M4 DTM really is.”