View Full Version : ALMS & BMW article

08-05-2012, 08:31 PM
Forgot to post this a few weeks ago when I read it, I guess this year's BGP will be the last time I'll see the M3 GT (and possibly BMW) in ALMS.

ALMS: BMW Poised For Switch To Z4 In 2013
Written by: John Dagys

Despite having achieved considerable success with its current-generation M3 GT, BMW is looking to replace the two-time American Le Mans Series championship-winning car with a new model for 2013.

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt, in a SPEED.com exclusive interview, confirmed the Bavarian manufacturer is in talks with the ACO and IMSA to run a GT3-based BMW Z4 in the highly competitive GT category.

“This year it has been very much down to the team and the drivers extracting 100, and sometimes [more than] 100 percent, out of what was there,” Marquardt said. “Whatever resources we’d put into the M3, there is not that much left in that car.

“I think this is really what we have to be honest with ourselves about. Looking at the potential the Z4 has, I think it’s a logical evolution that could be the solution for us. We just have to make it work.”

As one of the more successful cars in the GT3 platform, Marquardt said they are pursuing full GTE homologation for the Z4, which would require some modifications in order to meet the FIA and ACO’s standards.

“The basis has to be the GT3,” Marquardt said of the proposed Z4 GTE car. “We just have to see how much in what area has to be modified.

“Between GT3, where people say [there are no real] regulations, and what ACO and IMSA have, which is a clear set of regulations, there are some differences. And we need to figure out how we can bring those together.”

One of the current holdups is with the Z4’s engine. While the GT3-spec BMW uses a 4.4-liter V8 powerplant, the production car is offered with a variety of four and six-cylinder units. And unlike GT3 regulations, ACO rules mandate that GTE cars must have the same engine configuration as its road-going counterpart.

Exceptions, however, have been made in the past. One of the most recently publicized examples has been the new SRT Viper GTS-R, which received an ACO waiver to run a trimmed down 8.0-liter V10, which is outside of the category’s 5.5-liter displacement limit.

“Between us and the governing bodies, we just have to see that it’s an affordable solution,” Marquardt said. “We can’t do it at any price, that’s for sure. The current situation doesn’t allow us to do a new car from scratch.”

While BMW Motorsport’s focus in Europe will remain on DTM, Marquardt admitted the advantages of having a new GTE-spec car in its arsenal, should a decision be made to re-enter the various other Le Mans-branded championships or provide customer cars in the years to come.

“The good thing with the ACO in that respect is that once you have that car homologated, you can run it in the ALMS. And you can, if you want to, and that doesn’t mean anything right now, also enter Le Mans. You can also run WEC and the Asian series,” he said.

“The platform that is available to you is wide spread. For sure not for 2013, but for the future, you have a lot of options available. And honestly speaking, that was also the reason why we said DTM is so interesting. It’s good to know there are options available.”

No detailed time frame has been given on the homologation process, but Marquardt said to expect a definitive decision to be made before October, when BMW typically announces its motorsport program for the following year.

If the green light is given for the Z4, it’s expected two-time and defending ALMS GT champions, BMW Team RLL, would continue fielding the manufacturers’ ALMS entries, although not officially confirmed.