BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team is testing a Le Mans-spec bodywork and they aim to have it ready for Lime Rock race. BMW’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans delivered mixed results, but BMW Motorsport has taken some of the lessons learned from the development of its European-spec M3 GT2s to strengthen its American Le Mans Series program.
BMW RLR is currently evaluation the use of the M3’s new bodywork package that was seen on the Schnitzer-run cars in the early season Le Mans Series races and at Le Mans.
According to SpeedTV, since the car’s ALMS debut last year in GT2, BMW has struggled to find the perfect aero balance with its V8-powered machines. A late change from IMSA’s outgoing GT2S regulations to GT2 resulted in the loss of front and rear downforce as BMW of North America’s motorsports manager Martin Birkmann explains:
“One of the car’s weaknesses we had last year was the removal of the dive planes. It was OK on the GT2S, but not on the GT2 and the waiver was not granted to keep those,” said Birkmann. “So we struggled a little bit on getting the car aero balanced. We hope that the Le Mans aero package will improve that.”
The Euro-spec aero package features brand-new front, rear and side sections as well as redesigned wheel arches, all aimed at increasing downforce and reducing drag. BMW RLR tested the the aero package for the first time last week at Road Atlanta. Based on the initial positive results, BMW hopes to introduce the aero package at the Lime Rock race in August.
In a short interview for the same SpeedTV, Martin Birkman, head of Motorsport in the US said: “We needed to have [ACO] approval before we tested it. Initially, the sanctioning for 2010 was that no changes were permitted as a means to control costs. It was aimed to help teams not develop themselves out of budget and out of reason. But since this aero kit was in development within the confines of the ACO requirements, I think it eventually swayed the approval process.”
With no win this year, BMW hopes to go back to the winners lane in this year’s championship.
“There’s five or six cars in contention each race,” Birkmann said of the ultra-competitive GT division. “It’s top driving talent, extremely professionally run teams and it’s a pretty darn good show. Globally, I don’t think you’ll find that anywhere else but in the GT class in the American Le Mans Series. That’s my firm belief.”[Source: SpeedTV ]
Thanks for the tip Misha!