An E46 GTR came to life on February 2001, powered by the P60B40 a 3,997 cc V8 producing 493 hp (368 kW; 500 PS). Unlike the straight-six powered M3 versions, which were outpaced by the Porsche 996 GT3, the racing version of the E46 M3 GTR 16 was very successful in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), entered by Schnitzer Motorsport.
Rivals such as Porsche pointed out that this car was more of a prototype as no V8 engine was available in the road-going BMW E46, which is in violation of the spirit of Gran Turismo. In 2001, ALMS regulations stated that cars must be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for 250,000 euros (then $218,000) each.
The ALMS rules were altered for 2002 to state that 100 cars and 1,000 engines must be built for the car to qualify without penalties. Although BMW could have raced the V8 with the new weight and power penalties under these new regulations, they chose to pull out of the ALMS, effectively ending the short-lived M3 GTR’s career.
Two Schnitzer Motorsport GTR cars saw a comeback in 2003 at the 24 Hours Nürburgring, winning 1–2 in 2004 and 2005, as well as entries in the 24 Hours Spa. Onboard coverage recorded in 2004 Hans-Joachim Stuck, Pedro Lamy, Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller on the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps.
Private teams (Scheid, Getrag, etc.) also have fit 3,997 cc BMW V8 engines into the E46 body to race on the Nürburgring, winning some VLN races in the last years.