BMW is getting a head start on 2014 with the introduction of its new Z4 GTE platform that will compete in ALMS's GTE category beginning with next month's 12 Hours of Sebring.
Auto maker gets a jump on 2014 with Z4 GTE in American Le Mans Series GT category
Although a common schedule merging the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series is nearly a year away, BMW is getting a head start on 2014 with the introduction of its new Z4 GTE platform that will compete in ALMS's GTE category beginning with next month's 12 Hours of Sebring.
BMW brought the car, to be campaigned by Team RLL, to Daytona International Speedway earlier this week for a media roll-out. Media and guests from around the world were able to inspect the car up close, talk to team officials and drivers as well as BMW officials. Drivers also provided rides around Daytona's road course.
The car replaces the BMW M3 GT which the automaker has campaigned successfully for four years.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said the March 16 12 Hours of Sebring opens a new chapter in the company's long history of motorsports competition.
"It certainly heralds a new phase of BMW's involvement in motorsport in North America. A lot is going on there – you need only think of the merging of the ALMS and GRAND-AM in 2014," said Marquardt. "It was important for us to set ourselves up for 2013 in such a way that we are well positioned moving into the future. We have achieved that with the development of the 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."
Team RLL Principal Bobby Rahal added, "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."
Rahal's organization will campaign two cars – the No. 55 and 56 – with an international driver line-up. They include two-time GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT champion Bill Auberlen, Maxime Martin, John Edwards, ALMS GT champions Dirk Muller and Joey Hand. Jorg Muller and Uwe Alzen will bolster the line-up for endurance races at Sebring and later this fall at Road Atlanta.
GRAND-AM and ALMS earlier this week announced the creation of a joint technical committee tasked with – among other items - the development of technical specifications for the unified series' classes. Names of those classes will be announced March 14 at Sebring International Raceway.