Debut for the BMW Z4 GTE and the Newly Structured BMW Team RLL – Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts on Board as Premium Partner Again in 2013

DAYTONA (US), 12th February 2013. 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: 12,5x18“, rear axle: 13x18“)
 
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 (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
 
 
Note to the editors: The 2013 BMW Motor­sport ALMS press kit is now avail­able online at: www.press.bmwgroup-sport.com