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Debut for BMW Team RLL’s BMW Z4 GTE
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. 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 presented by Tequila Patron.

BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL presented the car and drivers for the new season at Daytona International Speedway, site for the first race of the 2014 combined North American sports car championship. The first race for the 2013 ALMS season is the 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 16.

“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,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “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."

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 Tire 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 liters (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 calipers, innver-vented steel brake discs, seamless brake balance adjustment (front and rear) by the driver

Wheels: BBS forged aluminum wheels, front axle: 12,5x18“, rear axle: 13x18“)

Tires: Michelin, front axle: 300-680-18, rear axle: 310-710-18

Engine type: Eight-cylinder, V-configuration, four valves per cylinder, mandatory air restrictor (2x29.4mm)

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

2014 JOINT TECHNICAL GROUP: GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron announced the formation of a joint committee.  The group is focusing on key competition issues for the two organizations during this season, but also on the competitive landscape for the new unified sports car series debuting in 2014.

The committee, featuring competition department staff members from GRAND-AM and the ALMS plus outside technical consultants, will be co-chaired by International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Chief Operating Officer Scot Elkins (above, at left) and GRAND-AM Managing Director of Competition Richard Buck (above, at right).

Initial key projects include race car homologations, balance of performance and the development of technical specifications for the unified series’ classes. Names of those new classes will be announced on March 14 at Sebring International Raceway.

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