After four successful years with the BMW M3 GT, BMW has been setting course for the future, and lined up with a new challenger in the 2013 American Le Mans Series season: the BMW Z4 GTE that will be named BMW Z4 GTLM in 2014 according to the USCC class it starts in.
In July 2012, BMW Motorsport engineers in Munich began work on developing a version of the BMW Z4, which would comply with ACO regulations. The BMW Z4 GT3, which has enjoyed great success in top-level GT racing series around the world for several years, formed the basis for the development.
The BMW Z4 GTLM is considerably more compact than its successful predecessor, the BMW M3 GT. All the dimensions of the BMW Z4 GTLM have been modified to comply with ACO regulations. The necessary new developments regarding aerodynamics – such as the undercarriage and rear wing – proved to be a real challenge for the BMW engineers in Munich, particularly given the tight time frame.
The new car finally completed its first test out on the racetrack in late January 2013. BMW Team RLL was integrated in all the workflows throughout the entire development period. The engineers from the US travelled to Germany in December 2012 to assist with the assembly of the BMW Z4 GTLM. From the start of 2013 up to the first test they worked hand in hand with their colleagues in Munich. This allowed them to bundle the experience they gained in the ALMS since 2009 and incorporate it in the BMW Z4 GTLM.
The car triumphed in two races in its debut season, and helped BMW, BMW Team RLL and Dirk Müller to second place in the Manufacturer, Team and Driver’s Championships.