2014 E89 Z4 GTLM
2014 BMW E89 Z4 GTLM #1301
4,360cc P65B44 V8, 480 hp @ 7,000 rpm (restricted)
BMW USA Classic (since 2014)
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey
When the E92 M3 retired at the end of 2012, its two-door M4 successor wasn’t due until February 2014, and that car wasn’t sure to replace the E92 M3 as BMW’s premiere GT racer. What’s more, the ALMS was set to merge with rival Grand-Am in 2014, bringing a new name (the United SportsCar Championship) and a new rule book.
To bridge the gap, BMW NA turned to the Z4 GT3, introduced as a customer racer in 2010 . The ALMS required substantial changes before the Z4 GT3 could race as the Z4 GTE in 2013, but the series permitted the 4.4-liter P65 V8 engine, limited to just over 450 horsepower in the “Balance of Performance” era.
The car suffered from a lack of top speed thanks to its steep rear window angle, which created a pocket of dead air that should have flowed over the rear wing. BMW fitted larger side-view mirrors to channel airflow around the side and over the rear wing; at Daytona, the car even ran with its rear wing producing lift, not downforce. “The fixes drove me crazy,” said driver Bill Auberlen. “They’d shorten the front splitter, take front wing away, and we’d be lost in all the corners.”
Despite the frustrations, the Z4 did pretty well. The car seen here, chassis #1301, raced in 2013 as #56 in Alpine White. The car won the GT class at Lime Rock (Dirk Müller/John Edwards); finished 2nd at Long Beach (Müller/Joey Hand) and at Road Atlanta (Müller/Edwards/Auberlen); 3rd at Laguna Seca (Müller/Edwards), Baltimore (Müller/Hand), and at Austin (Müller/Edwards; and 4th at VIR (Müller/Hand). The team finished the 2013 season 2nd in GT, with Müller 2nd and Auberlen 4th among drivers.
For 2014, the ALMS became the USCC, and the Z4 GTE became the GTLM. The Z4 GTLMs failed to win a single race, but Turner Motorsport captured the 2014 GTD title with its Z4 GTD. Chassis #1301 continued as the #56 for Müller and Edwards. The car finished 2nd in GTLM at Long Beach and Road America, 3rd at VIR, 4th at Daytona (with additional drivers Graham Rahal and Dirk Werner) and Mosport, 6th at Watkins Glen, 7th at Austin and Road Atlanta (plus Werner) and 10th at Sebring (plus Rahal and Werner) and Laguna Seca. At the end of 2014, the car was painted in BMW NA’s 40th Anniversary livery to commemorate the #25 3.0 CSL of 1975. #1301 was retired to the BMW USA Classic fleet, while its sister cars went on to win three races in 2015 before the Z4 was replaced by the M6 GT.