2013 BMW Z4 GTE
Racing under the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the Z4 GTE has some pretty high expectations to live up to. After all, it’s predecessor, the M3 GT, was one of the most successful race cars to compete in recent ALMS history. It last won back in 2011 and only lost the title last year to the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R.
So with a year to stew over surrendering its crown to Chevy, BMW is raring to get the 2013 ALMS season started with the Z4 GTE.
As expected, the racecar was built with racing regulations in mind, although if it performs the way its departed brethren used to, so there shouldn’t be any problems scoring some points and gaining some wins.
The real question is if it can return to the top of the ALMS podium, a step currently occupied by the C6.R.
Find out more about the BMW Z4 GTE after the jump
2013 BMW Z4 GTE
Transmission:six-speed sequential sport transmission
Horsepower @ RPM:480
Torque @ RPM:354
0-60 time:3.5 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:200 mph (Est.)
The BMW Z4 GTE is designed to be more compact that its predecessor, the M3 GT. The dimensions of the car are all modified to comply with ACO regulations and, as such, you have a very compact racer that is built with a steel body that comes with a welded safety cell. Aerodynamic components are also added in, including what looks like a carbon-fiber rear wing to go with larger bumpers, modified fenders, enhanced wheel arches, a new diffuser, and a set of 18-inch BBS forged-aluminum wheels wrapped in Michelin tires.
|Length||4,395mm (excl. rear wing)|
|Height||1,205mm (depending on set-up)|
|Weight||1,245kg (according to ACO regulations)|
|Chassis/Body||Steel body with welded safety cell|
BMW made no mention of what racing modifications were done on the interior of the Z4 GTE, but it more than likely includes the standard list of race-spec equipment required by GTE regulations. We’re thinking along the lines of carbon-fiber race seats, racing harnesses, a steel roll cage, and a fire extinguisher in case things go wonky and somebody needs to put a fire out.
The BMW Z4 GTE will come powered by a 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 480 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque and mates to a six-speed sequential sport transmission. It must be noted that the output is restricted, thanks to a mandatory air restrictor that was put in place as part of series regulations.
|Engine Type||Eight-cylinder, V-configuration, four valves per cylinder, mandatory air restrictor (2x29.4mm)|
|Maximum Output||approx. 480 horsepower (with mandatory air restrictor)|
|Max Torque||approx. 480Nm (354 pound-feet)|
|Transmission||Six-speed sequential sport transmission, operated via shifting paddles mounted on the steering wheel, multiple ZF Sachs clutch|
|Cylinder Block||Aluminum cylinder block construction|
Suspension and Braking
Critical to the success of this Z4 GTE is the kind of suspension and braking components BMW installed in it. In this case, the front axle of the racecar features a McPherson axle with pushrods and wishbone and adjustable shock absorbers with H&R coil springs. Likewise, the rear axle also saw its share of enhancements, particularly the longitudinal links with wishbone, adjustable shock absorbers and H&R coil springs. As for the brakes, the Z4 GTE comes with a hydraulic dual circuit brake and monobloc multi-piston light alloy brake calipers.
The price for the 2013 BMW Z4 GTE has yet to be announced, although we expect the figures to be divulged sooner than later.
The BMW M3 GT experienced a lot of highs when it was racing around the ALMS circuit so the Z4 GTE definitely has some big shoes to fill if it wants to replicate the success its predecessor had when it won the ALMS GT class drivers’ title in 2011 and manufacturers’ crowns in 2010 and 2011.
If it has plans of doing so, it needs to go up against the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and the Ferrari 458 Italia GT2.
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
The Corvette C6.R poses the greatest threat to the Z4 GTE’s quest to reclaim the ALMS title for BMW. As the defending champion, the Corvette C6.R compiled a pretty intimidating list of accomplishments on its way to winning the ALMS title last year, including four victories, six runner-up finishes, 12 podium appearances, two poles and five fastest race laps.
Ferrari 458 Italia GT2
The Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 also poses a threat to the Z4 GTE with plans of leap-frogging the latter to stake its name as another contender to the Corvette C6.R. It’s building on an impressive third place finish in the 2012 season that saw it score more points over the M3 GT in the last three races of the season.
The introduction of the new BMW Z4 GTE as the successor to the M3 GT gives BMW a fresh start heading to the 2013 ALMS season. The automaker has proven that it has the car and technology to win the series, but with a new car like this one, it’s a little difficult to surmise if it has the capabilities to knock the Corvette C6.R from the top step of the podium.