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2008-02-13 07:42
BMW chose the fairly low-key Chicago Auto Show to reveal its new racer for the American Le Mans Series - a 362-kW version of the V8-powered M3.

In order to make the use of this car's on-track alter ego, the Munich maestros have concentrated on all the M3's elements, and not just the engine which has been tweaked to produce a gob-smacking 500 Nm to go along with its increased power output.

The race version M3 is wider and significantly lighter (due to extensive use of carbon-reinforced plastic) than the production model. And as with the road-going M3, the roof is also constructed from carbon fibre.

Furthermore, a carbon fibre clutch is matched to a six-speed sequential racing gearbox.

Stopping the race M3 is the duty of 380 mm diameter six-piston aluminium calipers at the front and 332 mm four piston calipers at the rear.

F1 inspired

Several F1 techniques were also applied in the development of the ALMS M3, including computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel analyses to fine-tune the car's aerodynamics.

An intensive test programme is scheduled for the next few months with works drivers Augusto Farfus, Jörg Müller and Andy Priaulx.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "With the sporting genes of the production BMW M3 being clearly evident, developing a racing version of the car was the next logical step.

"The fact that the road-going vehicle is fitted with a V8 engine as standard provided us with an ideal base. However, the BMW M3 is more than a race car, it has achieved legendary status amongst race fans across the globe. I am convinced that this unique story of the BMW M3 racing cars will now be expanded upon by the addition of further chapters."


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