2013 Z4 GTLM: BMW of North America
E89 (2013-2015) #1301
4,360cc P65B44 V8
BMW of North America (since 2013)
When the E92 M3 was retired from racing at the end of 2012, its two-door M4 successor was still nearly two years away from production—and even then, it wasn’t necessarily going to become BMW NA’s next GT racer in the American Le Mans Series. In the interim, and with a new rule book on the horizon, BMW NA turned to the Z4 GT3, which BMW Motorsport had been offering as a customer racer since 2010.
The Z4 GT3 had done well in endurance racing worldwide, but turning a GT3 into a GTE turned out to be more difficult than BMW Motorsport had imagined. The ALMS required significant changes to the chassis and suspension, but it permitted BMW to use the full-race P65 V8 engine even though the road-going Z4 came with a four- or six-cylinder. Unfortunately, the P65’s performance would be hobbled by “Balance of Performance” output restrictions. Aerodynamics also presented a problem, as the Z4’s steep rear window created a pocket of dead air where it should have flowed over the rear wing. BMW tweaked the bodywork as much as the rule book allowed, but the aero would always be tricky. Even so, the Z4 GTE won two ALMS races in 2013; renamed the Z4 GTLM from 2014, it won none that year but three more in 2015, its final year of ALMS/IMSA racing.
The car you see here, chassis number 1301, raced as the #55. In 2013, the last year of the ALMS, it was raced by Bill Auberlen and Maxime Martin to a win at Long Beach and second at Lime Rock behind the #56 Z4 GTLM. Racing in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship in 2014, it won no races but took four pole positions, driven by Auberlen and Andy Priaulx. It’s seen here in its 2014 livery.