The BMW Z4 GTE Debuts with the Newly Structured BMW Team RLL

Official Release: BMW is embarking on a new chapter of its motorsport commitment in North America: after four successful years with the BMW M3 GT, the new BMW Z4 GTE will take over at the head of the manufacturer’s campaign in the 2013 American Le Mans Series (ALMS). On Tuesday, BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL presented the car and drivers for the new season at the “Daytona International Speedway” (US).

Supported by Premium Partner Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, guests from around the world were given the opportunity to inspect the BMW Z4 GTE at close hand, talk to those responsible for the team, and experience the iconic racetrack in Florida from the cockpit, courtesy of taxi rides with the BMW ALMS drivers.


“As we approach the start of the ALMS season in mid-March, so the anticipation is gradually rising,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “All of us at BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL are very curious to see how the first few races pan out with the new BMW Z4 GTE. We are setting out on a development year, but are very confident we have once again developed a car that has the potential to win races and titles in the form of the BMW Z4 GTE. Seeing our drivers at this event, you could tell how much they are looking forward to the first race in Sebring. I would also like to say a big thank you to our Premium Partner Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts for its fantastic support here in Daytona.”

Team Principal Bobby Rahal added: “Obviously I am very excited to enter this new year with the BMW Z4 GTE. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the team for the new car. Certainly there will be a development period involved but ultimately I see no reason why we can’t be competitive with the great competition that exists in the GT category in the ALMS. Although this might be a development year in many respects, the level of driver talent we have on the team – including the two new exciting additions with Maxime Martin and John Edwards – I think that ultimately we can have success and do much as we did in 2009, the first year of the BMW M3 GT, and work hard toward achieving maximum results in its first year. One aspect of the launch that is very exciting is not just the introduction of the BMW Z4 GTE and our drivers, but also the collection of historic cars that were the cars that began the success story of BMW in North American racing.”

The guests had travelled to Orlando (US) on Monday, and were welcomed that evening at a dinner in the Crowne Plaza Universal Orlando by Jens Marquardt, Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW of North America, BMW Team RLL Team Principal Bobby Rahal and BMW NA Motorsport Manager Gordon McDonnell. On Tuesday, the ALMS drivers took them on a series of taxi rides in historic BMW racing cars. This was followed by the unveiling of the BMW Z4 GTE.

BMW Motorsport also announced the driving pairs for the coming season. Car number 55 will be driven by Bill Auberlen (US) and ALMS rookie Maxime Martin (BE). Dirk Müller (DE) will contest all the races in the number 56 car. Joey Hand (US) and John Edwards (US) will alternate as the two-time ALMS GT champion’s driving partner. Edwards will stand in for Hand when he is unavailable due to his parallel commitment in the DTM. Jörg Müller (DE, #55) and Uwe Alzen (DE, #56) will bolster the squad at the endurance races at Sebring (US) and Road Atlanta (US).

The BMW Z4 GTE will contest its first season in 2013. In July 2012, BMW Motorsport engineers in Munich (DE) began work on developing a GTE version of the BMW Z4 GT3, which would comply with ACO regulations. The BMW Z4 GT3 itself has enjoyed many years of success in high-class GT series around the world. The regulations stipulate that electronic aids that may be used on the BMW Z4 GT3, such as ABS and DSC, are not permitted on a GTE car.

The BMW Z4 GTE is considerably more compact than its successful predecessor, the BMW M3 GT. All the dimensions of the BMW Z4 GTE have been modified to comply with ACO regulations. The new car took to the racetrack for its maiden test outing in the second half of January. BMW Team RLL was integrated in the process throughout the entire development period. Engineers from the USA travelled to Munich in December to play their part in the assembly of the BMW Z4 GTE.

The car is not the only important new thing BMW Team RLL can look forward to in the coming season: Michelin is the new Tyre Partner of BMW Motorsport in the ALMS. In contrast, Premium Partner Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts is something of a constant. The successful cooperation will continue in 2013. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts belongs to the InterContinental Hotels Group. IHG maintains, runs and owns over 4,400 hotels and more than 658,000 rooms in approaching 100 countries.

Technical Specifications BMW Z4 GT3.

  • Length: 4,395mm (excl. rear wing)
  • Width: 2,010mm
  • Height: 1,205mm (depending on set-up)
  • Weight: 1,245kg (according to ACO regulations)
  • Tank capacity: 110 litres (according to IMSA classification)
  • Chassis/body: Steel body with welded safety cell
  • Transmission: six-speed sequential sport transmission, operated via shifting paddles mounted on the steering wheel, multiple ZF Sachs clutch
  • Front axle: McPherson axle with pushrods and wishbone, additionally with adjustable shock absorbers, H&R coil springs
  • Rear axle: Longitudinal links with wishbone, adjustable shock absorbers, H&R coil springs
  • Brake system: hydraulic dual circuit brake; monobloc multi-piston light alloy brake callipers, innver-vented steel brake discs, seamless brake balance adjustment (front and rear) by the driver
  • Wheels: BBS forged aluminum wheels, front axle: 12,5×18“, rear axle: 13×18“)
  • Tyres: Michelin, front axle: 300-680-18, rear axle: 310-710-18
  • Engine type: Eight-cylinder, V-configuration, four valves per cylindre, mandatory air restrictor (2×29.4mm)
  • Capacity: 4,400cc — Max. output: approx. 480bhp (with mandatory air restrictor) — Max. torque: approx. 480Nm
  • Cylinder block: Aluminum cylinder block construction
  • Engine management: BMW Motorsport ECU 408, without fuses, central display
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  • Roland Renno

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the M3 GT fitted with a V8 4.0 litre engine producing 500hp?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Yes- the Z4 uses the engine from the M3 CRT/GTS and is restricted. The huge surface area of the M3 was allowed greater output to counter act the drag- the reverse is now true. The Z4 is much less in terms of surface area so it requires less HP for the same performance. This car is homologated for the future GTE class as the engine has not yet been in the US in production form and under the old ALMS rules that would not have been permitted.

      The other notable from this is that this car ,like the GT3 it is based on, does not use an XTRAC transmission but a production based one- which is a big difference in terms of performance and reliability. The transmission has been the weak point of the GT3 though it is more sorted now than it was earlier on.

      • Roland Renno

        Allright, thanks for the explanation Michael. So you personally think that this Z4 GTE will be more competitive? Because from what I’ve seen in the previous ALMS season, the M3 GT was powerful but missed being the most competent.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          Having seen it and talked to those that have driven it and the M3 GT the consensus has been that the Z4 is far superior and much more cost effective.

          • Roland Renno

            Oh that sounds good… it keeps to know what our competitors have brought as a package.

            One more thing Michael, since the drag on the M3 GT was more than that of the Z4 GTE, then why did BMW opt to choose the 4.4 litre of the M3 CRT/GTS rather than the normal 4.0 litre V8?

            Now that the air restrictors limit the output of the engine, one thing is still uncontrollable, and that is the torque of the 4.4 litre V8, am I right?