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    • This is how BMW uses loopholes to essentially cheat the IMSA GTLM system and race a car (Z4 GTE) they do not sell

      BMW does not play fair when it comes it professional racing. When BMW does not get its way, the Motorsport division simply quits. This started back in 1999 when BMW first announced they were bringing a V8 powered E46 M3 to race in the American Le Mans GT2 class despite BMW not selling an E46 M3 with V8 power. BMW scoured the rulebook for a loophole to allow them to beat Porsche and they found it. BMW only won a single race in the 2000 season with a inline-6 powered E46 M3.

      The 2001 ALMS GT2 regulations stated that a car had to be for sale on two continents within 12 months of the rules being issued. That meant BMW could race during the 2001 season with a V8 without producing an E46 M3 with a V8. BMW developed the P60B40 race engine for the M3 GTR and beat the competition down winning six of the eight races and dominating the 2001 season. Keep in mind Porsche fielded eight GT3's to BMW's two M3's. BMW flat out destroyed Porsche and Porsche was not happy.

      Now, BMW had a bit of a point with their switch to the V8 showing how unfair the rules were. Porsche had a displacement advantage on the 3.2 liter BMW inline-6 yet both motors had the same size air intake restrictor at 1.7 inches. That is not a level playing field so BMW essentially said screw you we'll race you with a new V8. BMW built the V8, raced the 2001 season with it, and just as the rules stated offered a couple of E46 M3 GTR's for sale at over $250,000 a pop on two continents.


      BMW followed the letter of the law but the law changed after Porsche cried and cried and cried at the close of the 2001 season. ALMS changed the rules to say a minimum of 50 cars must be available for sale before the start of the season for BMW to race in 2002. BMW said that was not fair and they could never meet the 50 car production deadline in time so they simply quit. The only other option would be to race with a 220 pound penalty and an even greater air intake restriction which would hand Porsche the class victory on a silver platter.


      Was what BMW did legal? Yes. Was it fair? No. BMW had a point about the air restrictors and Porsche had a point about BMW racing a car they did not sell. BMW at least made an effort with the E46 M3 GTR to sell a car with the V8. This all changed of course with the introduction of the E92 M3 that had a 4.0 liter V8 under the hood to begin with.

      BMW returned to ALMS GT racing at the end of 2009 testing out the E92 M3 in preparation for the 2010 season. With BMW selling a 4.0 liter V8 powered M3 they were free to race to their hearts content with a V8. BMW won the ALMS GT championship in 2010 and again in 2011 for back to back victories. BMW was dominant with the M3 but rule changes in 2012 slowed the M3's down. BMW complained the regulations were unfair and did what they do best, find loopholes.

      BMW responded with the Z4 GTE for the 2013 season retiring the M3. Now you might be wondering, how can BMW get away with racing a Z4 they do not sell? One with a 4.4 liter V8 engine that they never even sold on the North American continent? Was this not the entire problem over a decade ago? You are not the only one wondering this as BimmerBoost e-mailed ALMS three times in 2013 to get an answer. ALMS never bothered to respond.


      ALMS is gone now for 2014 due to a series merger with the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and is replaced by the United Sports Car Series governed by the IMSA. The IMSA rulebook is basically the same for the GTLM class as it was for the ALMS GT class. Now with the IMSA governing perhaps they will offer a straight response as to why BMW is allowed to race a hardtop Z4 coupe despite not selling a hardtop Z4 coupe and despite never offering the Z4 with the M3's V8 anywhere on planet earth.

      BimmerBoost sent two e-mails to the IMSA governing body and called the office leaving multiple messages and is still waiting for a response. This despite a nice secretary 'assuring' someone would eventually get back to me. Well, the IMSA would prefer just like ALMS to pretend BMW is not using loopholes but fortunately the rulebook is published online and this is how BMW is able to get away with it.




      As the rule states here, BMW does produce and sell Z4 models in the quantities necessary. However, BMW does not produce a Z4 hardtop coupe. They only produce a hardtop convertible model. Convertibles are not allowed to race in the GTLM class so why is BMW allowed to circumvent this?

      They do not specify if the race car has to have the same open or closed top as the production car which is a rather big loophole. A convertible or coupe is specified as eligible so due to this grey area BMW can sell a convertible coupe but race a hardtop coupe. Every other manufacturer racing in the GTLM class sells a car that shares the same closed roof as what they race. For example, Chevrolet does not sell the C7 Corvette only as a convertible and Ferrari does not sell the 458 only as a spider.

      Here is where things get really interesting regarding the engine. Obviously, there is no E89 Z4M and no production Z4 for sale with a V8. The M3 and M3 GTS both were sold with a V8. BMW sold many more than the 300 units required of the E9X M3 so according to the rules they can use this engine. There is nothing in the rule book that states the race car has to use the motor of the car it is based on. Technically, Ferrari could race the V12 they sell which meets the production number requirement in the 458 chassis if they wanted to. They do not do this though as everyone other than BMW races a motor similar to what they actually sell the car with.

      The C7 has a V8, the Viper has a V10, the GT3 has a flat-6, the 458 has a V8, etc. Everyone follows the spirit of competition by basing their race cars on their street version of the car except BMW:




      The engine regulations lead to further ambiguity. Ignore for a moment that the rules state the engine shall maintain its original location, orientation, and position. Considering the Z4 never originally has a V8 to begin with what exactly is the original location, orientation, and position? Its original location, orientation, and position in the M3? Apparently that means a front engine layout.

      The cylinder block, heads, and camshafts must resemble the production engine counterpart. However, this is where BMW gets away with a 4.4 liter. The M3 raced with 4.0 liters of displacement and the Z4 GTE gets a 4.4 liter displacement V8 like the M3 GTS. There is no regulation on changing the stroke only a cap on displacement of 5.5 liters maximum. Technically, Porsche could race a 5.5 liter flat-6 with these regulations.

      Even though BMW never sold a 4.4 liter V8 engine in North America the way the rules are worded means BMW can get away with racing one. Even though BMW never sold a Z4 hardtop they can race with one. Even though there is no Z4M with a V8 BMW can mix and match parts and use loopholes to get away with it.

      Why? Why does everyone else race something that actually resembles what they sell? Is that not the point of the GTLM class? Ferrari races a 458 coupe with a 4.5 liter V8 and sells a 458 coupe with a 4.5 liter V8. Porsche races a 911 GT3 with a 4.0 liter flat-6 and released a 911 GT3 with a 4.0 liter flat-6. Chevrolet races a C7 coupe with a 5.5 liter V8 (max displacement) and sells a C7 coupe with a V8. Dodge races a Viper coupe with a 8.0 liter V10 (accepting additional air restrictor penalties) and sells a Viper coupe with a V10.

      While what BMW is doing is legal it is not consistent with the spirit of competition. BMW was not winning with the M3 after the regulation changes so they did the same thing they did back in 2001 which was look for loopholes to gain an advantage. Manufacturers having to produce cars that are similar to what they race gives us gems like the GT3 RS 4.0. This is a good thing for enthusiasts especially considering this is the closest we will ever get to sitting behind the wheel of a GTLM race car. If the rules did not allow for BMW to more or less cheat the system, we would have a Z4M in production with a 4.4 liter V8. Was it not more respectable when BMW won with a car that resembled what you could actually buy from BMW?

      The rulebook needs to be updated. Why nobody is questioning BMW's tactics is anyone's guess. Perhaps the IMSA is scared of BMW quitting again since the precedent is if the rules are changed to be more strict regarding homologation BMW simply takes their car and goes home. Why is childish behavior being rewarded? Why is the spirit of GTLM competition not being honored?

      If you let a child throw a tantrum and give in they will only continue to do so in order to get what they want. What BMW is doing disrespects the GTLM class and their competition. BimmerBoost says let BMW throw its tantrum and go home until they grow up and play the game the right way. Sometimes the right thing is not simply following the letter of the law but the spirit of the law.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: This is how BMW uses loopholes to essentially cheat the IMSA GTLM system and race a car (Z4 GTE) they do not sell started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 58 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        BMW makes a 4.4liter engine. As I recall there were X5's driving around with them.
        That's an M62/N62. Completely different engine. It hasn't been in production in a long time away and wouldn't meet the rules because of that.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        The rules never states the engine has to be in the car they bring out to race, just that it has to have an engine that is placed in a production car.
        Exactly as stated in the article. That is how BMW gets away with mixing and matching.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        It is strange a hardtop chassis was allowed, I give you that. I do not see the regulation that forbids that in your article.
        Because there is no regulation forbidding it. There should be. This is the problem with loopholes.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        What it comes down to is the only ones allowed to protest to that are the other teams, no one else.
        I think its fair to point out that other teams are racing the right way whereas BMW fights dirty.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        You state the Max engine size is 5.5L, so every team chooses the engine that best suites their goals weight/performance wise.
        The engines are all restricted. Whether you have a 5.5 liter or 4.0 liter you will be balanced regarding the amount of air the engine can ingest.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        BMW did that. It is stated nowhere the engine has to be produces or available for USA cars. It's just not in the rules...
        Exactly. BMW using loopholes. I could write better rules in 15 minutes.
      1. DavidV's Avatar
        DavidV -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That's an M62/N62. Completely different engine. It hasn't been in production in a long time away and wouldn't meet the rules because of that.
        So do they use a production engine?
        If so, it is according to regulations


        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        It is strange a hardtop chassis was allowed, I give you that. I do not see the regulation that forbids that in your article.
        Because there is no regulation forbidding it. There should be. This is the problem with loopholes.
        Then this is a stroke of brilliance. Applaud BMW for making a hard top so rigid it can compete with coupe racing cars.
        I recon there are only rules for the rollcage. They must surely comply to that.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The engines are all restricted. Whether you have a 5.5 liter or 4.0 liter you will be balanced regarding the amount of air the engine can ingest.
        So the engine confirms with regulations. Great!!

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Exactly. BMW using loopholes.
        I only see Win Win situations here. They comply to all regulations. Let's race!
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        So do they use a production engine?
        If so, it is according to regulations
        Yes, they are using a loophole as stated.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        Then this is a stroke of brilliance. Applaud BMW for making a hard top so rigid it can compete with coupe racing cars.
        I recon there are only rules for the rollcage. They must surely comply to that.
        It has barely anything in common with the street car other than a general shape so I mean it's not that surprising. Of course BMW can build a coupe stiffer than a convertible.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        So the engine confirms with regulations. Great!!
        Nobody said it didn't. What was stated was they were using loopholes.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        I only see Win Win situations here. They comply to all regulations. Let's race!
        If you don't see how it's lose-lose for BMW enthusiasts I don't know what to tell you. I'm glad Corvette Racing has been whooping their ass. It's also nice to see GM spanking them in the street car scene too.
      1. E30isKing's Avatar
        E30isKing -
        Great Article!

        However, they do what they are allowed to do...with the purpose of winning.

        In my opinion BMW is not to blame.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by E30isKing Click here to enlarge
        Great Article!

        However, they do what they are allowed to do...with the purpose of winning.

        In my opinion BMW is not to blame.
        I do not blame BMW completely which is why I think the rules need to be updated. I wrote that if they were forced to produce the car they would have no choice but to do so unless they opted to quit.

        BMW is spending billions on 'i' and they can't stick the f'ing S65 under the hood of the Z4? Come on now.
      1. SpeedLimit?'s Avatar
        SpeedLimit? -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DavidV Click here to enlarge
        Mmm, read the whole damn article.

        I disagree.
        BMW makes a 4.4liter engine. As I recall there were X5's driving around with them.
        The rules never states the engine has to be in the car they bring out to race, just that it has to have an engine that is placed in a production car.
        The chassis mounts can be changed if the made more than 2500 of these chassis, which to BMW is no big deal at all. As the amount of 1 car a week, no problem at all.

        It is strange a hardtop chassis was allowed, I give you that. I do not see the regulation that forbids that in your article.

        What it comes down to is the only ones allowed to protest to that are the other teams, no one else.

        Engine choices as I read the rules are based on chassis mounts and raceability.
        That's where every team makes their choices. You state the Max engine size is 5.5L, so every team chooses the engine that best suites their goals weight/performance wise.
        BMW did that. It is stated nowhere the engine has to be produces or available for USA cars. It's just not in the rules...Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge
        Great points, but this is the vibe I get from this discussion...
        Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SpeedLimit? Click here to enlarge
        Great points, but this is the vibe I get from this discussion...
        http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lwznol3vOj1qcbjps.gif
        You're using that wrong.
      1. Kommodore's Avatar
        Kommodore -
        We'll just have to chalk it up as them being quintessentially German and actually reading ze fine print!

        What's actually disappointing is that if the fine print were to change, they WOULDN'T utilize the M-Division to actually create something that was legitimately competitive.

        They'd just quit instead.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Kommodore Click here to enlarge
        What's actually disappointing is that if the fine print were to change, they WOULDN'T utilize the M-Division to actually create something that was legitimately competitive.

        They'd just quit instead.
        Exactly.

        So anyone defending this doesn't seem to get the point that the 'Motorsport' division prefers to build cars that have nothing to do with Motorsport. Change the damn meaning of the letter to something else then and don't BS.
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SpeedLimit? Click here to enlarge
        Porsche doesn't sell a 991 with a metzger
        Dodge doesn't sell a SRT with an 8.0 V10
        Chevy doesn't sell a Vette with a 5.5 V8
        Ferrari doesn't sell a 458 with a 4.0 V8
        etc, etc, etc...
        Does BMW sell a hardtop Z4 or Z4M coupe? (engine doesn't matter for sake of argument)
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        BMW needs these concessions to be competitive. They got numerous concessions when they ran the E92 M3.

        Basically IMSA allowed BMW to turn their Z4 GT3 car into a GTE car. All they had to do was remove the ABS, yaw control, stability control as they are not allowed in GTE. Only traction control is allowed. Also some aero changes (no rear diffuser and no front drive planes).

        I always thought that would open the book for other makes to transfer their GT3 cars into GTE spec. Like the R8 LMS Ultra, MP4-12C GT3, SLS GT3, etc...but it never happened.

        I guess it will be 2015 when we get the big GT class rules change and the merger of the GT3/GTE classes. Should be interesting.
      1. SpeedLimit?'s Avatar
        SpeedLimit? -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BlackJetE90OC Click here to enlarge
        Does BMW sell a hardtop Z4 or Z4M coupe? (engine doesn't matter for sake of argument)
        According to @Sticky it should be fine because they sold a hardtop Z4M in the past generation similar to how Porsche sold a 4.0 GT3 in the past generation. You guys are getting worked up over this but their competition isn't, doesn't that say something?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SpeedLimit? Click here to enlarge
        According to @Sticky it should be fine because they sold a hardtop Z4M in the past generation similar to how Porsche sold a 4.0 GT3 in the past generation.
        That's not my argument and you are marking a logical fallacy in equating the GT3 that just hit the market to the one that is as close as possible to the race car Porsche sold for homologation. Porsche is not actively shying away from street cars for homologation. I'm not sure why you don't get this?

        This is my argument:

        Here is where things get really interesting regarding the engine. Obviously, there is no E89 Z4M and no production Z4 for sale with a V8. The M3 and M3 GTS both were sold with a V8. BMW sold many more than the 300 units required of the E9X M3 so according to the rules they can use this engine. There is nothing in the rule book that states the race car has to use the motor of the car it is based on. Technically, Ferrari could race the V12 they sell which meets the production number requirement in the 458 chassis if they wanted to. They do not do this though as everyone other than BMW races a motor similar to what they actually sell the car with.

        The C7 has a V8, the Viper has a V10, the GT3 has a flat-6, the 458 has a V8, etc. Everyone follows the spirit of competition by basing their race cars on their street version of the car except BMW


        If you want to go get a 911 GT3 like the one they race for the street, you can. Why? Because Porsche sold one. Porsche just came out with a new GT3 but since the motor they already raced was eligible due to being in production up until last year they are using it just like BMW. If Porsche made the switch too early they might have a big problem on their hands like what the 991 GT3 is currently seeing.

        THE DIFFERENCE that continues to elude you somehow is that Porsche produces a model based on what they race and always has. BMW is not doing so, they are specifically using loopholes to avoid doing so unlike the others. Ferrari has a 458 coupe with a V8, Chevrolet has a C7 coupe with a V8, SRT has a Viper coupe with a V10, and Porsche has a GT3 Coupe with a flat-6.

        Would you mind explaining where the Z4M V8 coupe is? Do you prefer a world where everyone else builds a sports car they race except BMW? Ok, well I don't.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SpeedLimit? Click here to enlarge
        You guys are getting worked up over this but their competition isn't, doesn't that say something?
        It says the competition is not the rules committee? Porsche got plenty worked up last time.
      1. TTFS's Avatar
        TTFS -
        Great write up Click here to enlarge OP.
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SpeedLimit? Click here to enlarge
        According to @Sticky it should be fine because they sold a hardtop Z4M in the past generation similar to how Porsche sold a 4.0 GT3 in the past generation. You guys are getting worked up over this but their competition isn't, doesn't that say something?
        No one is worked up my friend.

        Just trying to point out the difference that some feel. You are in a different camp, that is all. Not a big deal.
      1. BlackJetE90OC's Avatar
        BlackJetE90OC -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Would you mind explaining where the Z4M V8 coupe is? Do you prefer a world where everyone else builds a sports car they race except BMW? Ok, well I don't.
        His argument is since other competitors are using different displacement motors. Then that allows BMW to run a Z4M that doesn't exist, and allows BMW to run it in coupe form that doesn't exist, and run a 4.4L V8 Z4 that doesn't exist. For me that is a lot more strikes against BMW. That is not even getting into the fact the Z4 GTE chassis/suspension is least like its road going counterpart than any other car on the grid.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BlackJetE90OC Click here to enlarge
        His argument is since other competitors are using different displacement motors. Then that allows BMW to run a Z4M that doesn't exist, and allows BMW to run it in coupe form that doesn't exist, and run a 4.4L V8 Z4 that doesn't exist. For me that is a lot more strikes against BMW. That is not even getting into the fact the Z4 GTE chassis/suspension is least like its road going counterpart than any other car on the grid.
        Even if we forget the motors being 100% exact same as none of them are the fact remains there is no Z4M. There is no Z4 hardtop coupe. Hell, they don't even have the chassis for sale let alone with the motor.
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Just as a data point: Personally, the motor is *an* issue for me, but as a casual fan, rooting for a car that doesn't exist is a non-starter. Engine massaging I could probably deal with as long as it isn't too ridiculous. I formed this opinion as soon as BMW announced the change; not after reading Sticky's article.