There’s a visceral appeal to race cars that gets our pulse racing just looking at them – first sight of BMW’s new Z4 GT3 is no exception to that rule, it looks scary and oh so appealing before it even turns a wheel.
The BMW Z4 GT3, which was officially launched and completed its first test drives at the start of March, is already enjoying great popularity among BMW Motorsport customers. The first cars have been delivered to private BMW teams, who will prepare them for use in various national and international championships.
“The feedback on the BMW Z4 GT3 is extremely positive,” says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “This sports car rounds off our product range, and offers drivers and teams the opportunity to compete in championships in accordance with the GT3 regulations – such as the FIA GT3 European Championship, the International GT Open or the ADAC GT Masters – as well as at 24-hour endurance races.”
In addition, the BMW M3 GT2, the BMW 320si WTCC, which complies with Super2000 regulations, and the close-to-production BMW M3 GT4 are also available to customer teams from all over the world at BMW Motorsport Distribution.
The production model of the BMW Z4 provided BMW Motorsport engineers with a good basis for developing a close-to-production GT3 racing car. The largest difference between production and racing car can be found under the bonnet: while the production version of the BMW Z4 is driven by a six-cylinder engine, the GT3 car is powered by a 4.0-litre eight-cylinder engine similar to the unit used in the BMW M3 GT2.
This powerful heart produces over 480 bhp – its excellent performance characteristics and good torque curve make the base engine from the production version of the BMW M3 predestined for use in motorsport.
The fitting of the V8 engine had a considerable influence on the development of the BMW Z4 GT3. Initially, design-space examinations were performed using CATIA V5 design software, in order to place the engine in the ideal position and meet racing specifications. The engineers then added all the other components.
When it comes to electronics, the private teams can look forward to innovative BMW solutions, which have already been tried and tested on the BMW M3 GT2: the modern ECU408 takes over the engine management, while the Power400 electronic control unit is responsible for controlling all the actuators. The power is transmitted through a six-speed, sequential gearbox with a “Quick Shift” function.
Rims with central locking and safety clip are also included in delivery. In addition, the BMW Z4 GT3 offers driver assistance systems such as racing ABS and traction control, which have been adopted from other cars in the customer racing range, and then further developed and modified for use in the GT3 car.
The front axle of the BMW Z4 GT3 is a completely new design, based on a series design. It is equipped with a tubular stabiliser bar with adjustable blades. The rear axle is designed as a longitudinal link axle, as with the series version of the BMW Z4.
During the development, BMW Motorsport engineers worked hand in hand in other areas with their colleagues from series production, utilising BMW Group facilities when designing the car’s aerodynamics and performing bench tests.
Front and rear wings, bonnet, roof, fender and many other components are made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP). Using this lightweight, torsion-resistant material contributed significantly to reducing the weight of the BMW Z4 GT3 to 1,200 kilograms.
The BMW Z4 GT3 is available as a racing car at a cost of 298,000 Euros (plus VAT). Interested teams can request further information by emailing Z4GT3@bmw-motorsport.com.
We’d love to see this V8 engine make it into an M version of the road car and if you have read our interview with Dr Theissen last month then you’ll be aware that he wouldn’t deny such a possibility – in fact we know that the teams from BMW Motorsport and BMW M Division have been working closely on several projects, so let’s keep our fingers-crossed…