BMW M3 ALMS Race Car

BMW presented the 2009 BMW M3 Race Car, a racing version of the new BMW M3, at the Chicago Auto Show in 2009. This impressive race car was designed to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), which began in 2009. The car is based on the fourth generation of the M3, produced by BMW M GmbH. During development, BMW engineers were faced with an ambitious task of improving the sportiness of an already sporting car.


The race version of the BMW M3 is wider and significantly lighter than its production counterpart, enabling it to fully use the power of its V8 to the track. Widespread use of carbon-reinforced plastic (CFP) provides substantial weight reduction. Similar to the production M3, the entire roof of the car is manufactured from CFP. The process began in mid-2007 and numerous Formula One techniques were applied over the course of development. These include computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel analyses, both of which ensured the best possible aerodynamic package for the M3 Race Car.


As one might imagine, weight reduction involves removing all of the unnecessary amenities from inside the cabin. This includes removing the air conditioning, the radio, speakers, rear seats, and door panels. The heavy seats were replaced with lightweight racing seats featuring a 3-point harness and a roll cage was welded into place. The steering wheel was replaced by BMW with a flat-bottom racing wheel.


The heart of this track-focused beast is a 4.0-liter V8 derived from the production 2009 BMW M3 but tuned to produce 485 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. This is 71 more horsepower and 73 more pounds per foot of torque than the base M3. Because of the weight reduction, this M3 can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 3.6 seconds.


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