BMW M3 race version presented

Clear the decks for the race version of the latest generation BMW M3. Chicago/Munich, 6 February 2008. BMW presented the racing version of the new BMW M3 at the Chicago Auto Show. Powered by a 485 bhp eight cylinder engine, this impressive race...

Clear the decks for the race version of the latest generation BMW M3.

Chicago/Munich, 6 February 2008. BMW presented the racing version of the new BMW M3 at the Chicago Auto Show. Powered by a 485 bhp eight cylinder engine, this impressive race car has been designed to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) from 2009 onwards. The car is based on the fourth generation of the BMW M3, the high-performance sports car produced by BMW M GmbH.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen says: "With the sporting genes of the production BMW M3 being clearly evident, developing a racing version of the car was the next logical step. The fact that the road-going vehicle is fitted with a V8 engine as standard provided us with an ideal base. However, the BMW M3 is more than a race car, it has achieved legendary status amongst race fans across the globe. I am convinced that this unique story of the BMW M3 racing cars will now be expanded upon by the addition of further chapters."

"We are very pleased to be returning to the American Le Mans Series with our latest generation BMW M3," states Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO, BMW of North America. "Sports car racing has been part of BMW of North America's history practically from day one. Just two weeks after the company was formed in March 1975, a BMW CSL won the 12-hours of Sebring. We are confident that the fourth generation M3 will continue the legacy of its two predecessors which combined to win six manufacturer's championships over nine seasons. As it has been in the past we believe the ALMS is the ideal venue to showcase the potential of the newest BMW M3."

BMW's 2009 entry into the Sports Car Championship will be overseen by the United States-based Team Rahal Letterman operation. "BMW has an illustrious racing heritage," says co-owner and US motorsport legend Bobby Rahal. "Rahal Letterman Racing is eagerly anticipating, not only becoming part of that heritage, but helping to enhance it. Our dedication to this project will be without equal and we look forward to racing at the front of the grid with BMW in the years to come."

The BMW M3 Race Version: Sportiness personified.

In the course of developing the race version of the BMW M3, BMW's engineers were faced with an ambitious task: to improve upon the sportiness of an already sporting car. A better base would, though, be difficult to find. In standard form the vehicle delivers powerful dynamics and sporting aesthetics. Thanks to an eight cylinder engine producing 420 bhp, BMW's customers are provided with a unique driving experience.

Those engine blocks, cast in BMW's light alloy foundry in Landshut - the very source of BMW's Formula One castings - selected for race duty need to withstand even more power: the BMW P65 engine delivers 485 bhp.

In order to enable the BMW M3 to make full use of this performance on the race circuit, the experts in Munich have not concentrated solely on the engine, but have race-tuned the chassis as well. The race version of the BMW M3 is wider and significantly lighter than its production equivalent, enabling it to perfectly transmit the power of its V8. Widespread use of carbon-reinforced plastic (CRP) provides proof of substantial weight reduction. As with the production version, the race car's roof is manufactured from this high-tech material.

The race version of the BMW M3 is clearly aimed at the top echelon of motorsport. As such, it is no surprise to discover that in the course of its development, begun in mid-2007, numerous Formula One techniques were applied. These include computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel analyses, both of which have ensured the best possible aerodynamic package for the BMW M3.

Intelligent control systems have been incorporated throughout the BMW M3. The POWER400 control unit actuates all the accessories fitted to the car, such as lights, wipers, etc., via two bus systems. Traditional relays and fuses are thus eliminated, ensuring considerable weight saving, improved reliability and ease of application. The functions of the BMW P65 engine are managed by an ECU 408 electronic control unit, developed in-house by BMW Motorsport. The software and applications, too, have been developed by the experts in Munich.

Return to familiar territory.

An intensive test program, during which the performance of the race car will be honed by BMW Motorsport, looms for the BMW M3 over the coming months. Development drivers will be BMW works drivers Andy Priaulx (GBR), Jorg Muller (GER) and Augusto Farfus (BRA), currently racing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). The aim is, after all, for the BMW M3 to be an immediate front-runner upon its comeback to the American Le Mans Series.

BMW can look back on numerous successes and titles in the AMLS. In 1999 and 2000 the BMW LMR V12 scored six prototype victories. For 2001 BMW switched to the GT Class, winning everything in sight with the BMW M3 GTR, which was developed specifically for the ALMS: BMW works driver Jorg Muller claimed the drivers' championship, Team BMW Motorsport took the team title and BMW won the manufacturers' championship in the company's most important export market.

Rahal Letterman Racing made its debut in the ALMS in 2007, immediately laying claim to podium places in the GT2 category. The 2008 season gets under way, as has become traditional, with the Sebring 12 Hour Race on 15 March.

Technical Specifications BMW M3 Race Version.

Weight: 1150 kg

Tank capacity: 110 Liter

Chassis/body: Unitary construction steel body with welded safety cell made of extremely rigid precision steel tubing; safety fuel tank in CRP sandwich tray; pneumatic four-stamp jack system

Aerodynamics: Front wings, rear apron, motor hood, roof, trunk lid, rear wing, front wings, and flared rear wheel arches in CRP

Transmission: Carbon fibre clutch operated by hydraulic central slave cylinder; 6-speed sequential racing transmission with straight-cut, unsynchronized gears; additional oil/air cooler; quick shift system with ignition cut-out controlled by shifting force; mechanical limited slip differential with additional oil/air cooler

Front axle: Based on production version, with increased wheel caster angle, enlarged track width and enhanced wheel camber; five- way adjustable shock absorbers; tubular stabilizer bar

Rear axle: Based on production version, with enlarged track width and enhanced wheel camber; five-way adjustable shock absorbers, tubular stabilizer bar

Front brake system: Six-piston aluminium brake calipers, inner-vented grey-cast iron brake disks 380mm in diameter

Rear brake system: Four-piston aluminium brake calipers, grey-cast iron brake disk, 332mm in diameter

Steering: Rack and pinion steering with electro-hydraulic power

Wheels: Aluminium wheels, 18 inches

BMW P65 Engine.

Type: Eight cylinder, V-configuration

Capacity: 3999 cc

Bore x stroke: 92 x 75.2 mm

Max. output: approx. 485 bhp

Max. torque: approx. 500 Nm

Cylinder block: Aluminium cylinder block construction with bed plate lower section

Crankshaft: Steel crankshaft

Pistons: Forged skirt pistons

Conrods: High-performance steel

Cylinder head: Aluminium DOHC (Double Over Head amshaft); four valves Cper cylinder

Valve train: Four overhead chain-driven camshafts, valve actuation via rocker arms

Intake system: Eight throttle valves, made of CRP with load-charge optimized ram tubes

Exhaust system: Headers, silencer

Fuel system: Single cylinder multi-point injection

Lubrication: Dry sump lubrication

Cooling: Water/air cooler and oil/water heat exchanger

Electrics/Electronics.

Engine management: BMW Motorsport ECU 408 with two high-performance micro- processors; Individual cylinder injection and ignition; BMW Motorsport Lambda Controller Pit speed limiter, Quick Shift function; Engine data memory system

Energy management: Electric energy management and monitoring with BMW Motorsport POWER400 control unit, networking of all sensors and actuators through bus system

Wiring harness: Weight optimized

Ignition coil: Eight high-performance pencil coils with integrated ignition drivers

Spark plugs: High-performance spark plugs

Cockpit: Free programmable LCD Display with integrated shift indicators

Steering wheel: Quick release multi-function steering wheel with integrated display unit

-credit: bmw

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Bobby Rahal , Jorg Muller , Augusto Farfus , Mario Theissen