The 2011 BMW Z4 GT3 proved it can win races back in January when it took the overall victory at the Dubai 24 Hours. Never one to rest on its laurels, BMW took the car from the winners circle in Dubai and put it right back on a test track. After a good beating throughout March, BMW made aerodynamic and electronic tweaks to get the racer into absolute state-of-the-art shape for customer entries in 2011 GT3 competition.
The BMW Z4 GT3 resembles its production cousin in name and basic shape only. Most of its body panels have been significantly altered to keep the car slipping through the air and bolted to the road.
Under the hood, the production Z's six-cylinder heart has been ripped out and replaced with the same 4.4-liter V8 that sees duty in the M3. The V8 feeds power to the ground through a six-speed paddle-shifted sequential manual. Stuffing all that engineering know-how into the Z4 GT3 isn't cheap, either; the car retails at just north of $450,000. Full press release after the jump.
Munich, 8th April 2011. The modified BMW Z4 GT3 has survived its baptism of fire: the GT customer sports car proved itself in a series of intensive tests in recent weeks. The goal of the latest modifications was primarily to improve aerodynamic efficiency in order to ensure the car's competitiveness in the many, hard-fought GT3 classes.
The BMW Z4 GT3, which was launched in March 2010, achieved its greatest success to date in January 2011. Claudia Hürtgen (DE), BMW works driver Augusto Farfus (BR), Tommy Milner (US) and Edward Sandström (SE) won the Dubai 24 Hours for Team Schubert. This was the first outright victory for the BMW Z4 GT3 at a marathon race of this scale, having already proven its potential with wins in its debut season in the FIA GT3 European Championship.
With its elongated bonnet, the driver's compartment towards the rear of the car, long wheel base and narrow wheel arches, the series version of the BMW Z4 boasts an unmistakable appearance. The two-seater provided BMW Motorsport engineers with a good basis for developing a competitive GT3 racing car.
A difference between the 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 4.4-litre eight-cylinder engine.
BMW Motorsport engineers have also fine-tuned the aerodynamics of the BMW Z4 GT3 for the new season, improving the car's performance in this area. When it comes to electronics, the private teams can look forward to innovative BMW solutions: 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. Gearshifts are now initiated using two paddles.
The steel body of the car comes from BMW Plant Regensburg. A safety cell made of extremely rigid, precision steel tubing is then welded into the body. The engine block of the V8 engine is produced in the BMW foundry in Landshut. BMW Plant Dingolfing contributes the rear axle differential, among other things. Front and rear wings, bonnet, roof, fenders and many other components are made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP).
The car is available now at a price of 315,000 Euros (plus VAT) from BMW Motorsport Distribution, email address Z4GT3@bmw-motorsport.com.