Michelin and BMW Motorsport join forces for ALMS

February 13, 2013

Michelin and BMW Motorsport join forces for ALMS

February 13, 2013

2013 BMW Z4 GTE International Press Launch.Michelin and BMW Motorsport will join forces to contest the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) as well as Germany’s famed Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2013.

The German carmaker’s BMW Z4 GTE and BMW Z4 GT3 will run on tires from Michelin’s ‘Ultimate’ endurance racing range.

The new American Le Mans Series contender for the Bobby Rahal led BMW Team RLL was unveiled yesterday at Daytona International Speedway – the for the opening round of next year’s combined ALMS/Rolex Series GRAND-AM sporstcar championship.

“We are delighted to be working together with Michelin, and are confident our teams running the BMW Z4 GTE and BMW Z4 GT3 will benefit from this iconic company’s motorsport experience and from the renowned quality of its tires,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt (pictured right).

2013 BMW Z4 GTE International Press Launch.“The durability and performance of the tires play a crucial role in motorsport. With Michelin at our side as tire partner, we are excellently positioned in both these areas.”

The BMW Z4s entered by BMW Motorsport will race on 30/68-18 and 31/71-18 tires at the front and rear respectively. The slick from Michelin’s ‘Ultimate’ endurance racing range will be available in a choice of three compounds (hard, medium and soft), but just one type of wet weather tire will be permitted, in accordance with the ALMS regulations.

“The BMW Z4s will run on our taller front tire (30/68-18, instead of 30/65-18) to enable our new partner to take full advantage of the benefit of its Michelin tires in terms of longevity,” said Serge Grisin, the director of Michelin’s racing activities.

“In January 2013, we began a series of test sessions that involved working with BMW Motorsport to identify the operating windows and pressures of our different slicks and also work on the set-up of the new BMW Z4.

“This will allow us to make sure that the tires and car work in perfect harmony together so that the team can derive maximum benefit from the car’s performance potential. We are delighted with the confidence BMW Motorsport has placed in us. Making sure we live up to their expectations is an extra source of motivation for me and my team.”

The BMW No.55 will be driven by ALMS veteran Bill Auberlen with Belgian series rookie Maxime Martin. German Dirk Müller will contest all the races in the number 56 car. American stars Joey Hand and John Edwards (US) will alternate as the two-time ALMS GT champion’s driving partner.

2013 BMW Z4 GTE International Press Launch.Edwards will stand in for Hand when he is unavailable due to his parallel commitment in the German DTM championship. German aces Jörg Müller (#55) and Uwe Alzen (#56) will bolster the squad at the endurance races at Sebring and Road Atlanta.

“Obviously I am very excited to enter this new year with the BMW Z4 GTE,” Team boss Rahal said.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm in the team for the new car. Certainly there will be a development period involved but ultimately I see no reason why we can’t be competitive with the great competition that exists in the GT category in the ALMS.

“Although this might be a development year in many respects, the level of driver talent we have on the team – including the two new exciting additions with Maxime Martin and John Edwards – I think that ultimately we can have success and do much as we did in 2009, the first year of the BMW M3 GT, and work hard toward achieving maximum results in its first year.”

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