Ekris Motorsport and BMW Group Netherlands invited a small number of journalists to an attend where the official guests included the new BMW 1M Coupe, M3 GTS, M3 GT4 and Z4 GT3, an unique and exciting line-up of M cars.
Earlier last year, BMW Motorsport began offering private teams the Z4 GT3 built on the current generation E89 model. This sports car is an impressive addition to the BMW product range and offers drivers and teams the opportunity to compete in international and national championships in accordance with GT3 regulations – such as the FIA GT3 European Championship, International GT Open and the ADAC GT Masters – as well as in 24-hour endurance races.
Z4 GT3 is powered by the 4.0 liter V8 engine found in the current M3 producing approximately 480 horsepower. When it comes to electronics, the private teams can look forward to innovative BMW solutions, which have proven themselves in the BMW M3 GT2: the engine is controlled by the modern ECU 408, while the Power400 control unit is responsible for operating all actuators. The transmission takes place via a sequential, six-speed gearbox.
The BMW M3 GT4 is one of the latest addition to the Customer Racing product range offered by the BMW Motorsport Distribution division. Dutch GT4 Championship teams Ekris Motorsport and Racing Team Holland will join forces for the 2011 season. The newly formed Racing Team Holland by Ekris Motorsport will run a pair of BMW M3 GT4 in the Dutch GT4 Championship, one car will also run in the GT4 European Cup.
BMW offers an ample description of their M3 GT4 offerings:
The concept behind the GT4 category, for which the BMW M3 GT4 was developed by BMW Motorsport, is a simple one: The racing cars should have as much as possible in common with production cars, with only minor modifications allowed. Against this background, the production model of the BMW M3 has once again proven to be godsend for the engineers in Munich. The car, which epitomises sportiness from the word go, was enhanced with the safety features required for use on the race track. Then the competitive GT4 racing car was ready for action.
A safety cell made of extremely rigid, precision steel tubing is welded to the steel body required for usage in motorsport at the BMW Plant Regensburg. Thanks to numerous measures designed to reduce weight – such as the use CFRP for the doors or the use of the special plastic Makrolon for the side and rear windows – the BMW M3 GT4 weighs just 1,430 kilograms. The fact that the production model of the BMW M3 already has a CFRP roof was a great help to the engineers when lowering the car’s centre of gravity.
Furthermore, the racing car was given a 100-litre FT3 safety tank and a quick-release, multi-functional steering wheel. The 420 bhp engine remained largely untouched. The exhaust system is entirely made of titan and boasts catalytic converters for specific use in racing. The power transmission is handled by the mechanical six-speed gearbox, which is also used in the production model. The only alterations are the use of an adjustable differential lock and additional cooling for the rear axle differential. Adjustable racing shock absorbers allow the BMW M3 GT4 to be optimally adjusted to the characteristics of the circuit.
Some important adjustments were made to the brakes, in order to cope with the strains of the race track and offer drivers maximum safety: six-piston brake callipers with 378 mm brake discs are used on the front axle. The rear axle features four-piston brake callipers with 355 mm brake discs. In addition, the drivers are supported in difficult situations by a race ABS and DTC with specific mappings.
Another exciting M3 present at the event was the sold-out M3 GTS.