BMW’s investment in the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship series will be focused on two Z4 programs, while the Daytona Prototype engine program will not be supported in 2014. BMW NA Motorsport Manager Gordon McDonnell has told John Dagys of sportscar365.com that BMW will support the two-car Team RLL Z4 GTE program in the GT Le Mans class and a new Turner Motorsport Z4 program in the GT Daytona class.
Team RLL is currently testing Z4 #55 in the weekend TUSC test sessions at Sebring, and will be testing both cars #55 and #56 in the series’ Daytona test days on November 19 and 20. Dirk Müller, John Edwards, and Andy Priaulx are driving the car at Sebring; drivers for the Daytona test have not yet been announced. BMW typically announces its driver lineups after the motorsport party in December; but because of the November tests some information is coming out in advance of that date. It appears that both Edwards and Priaulx will run with the team in all races in 2014; for Edwards, the 2014 RLL drive is a move from a partial schedule in 2013, and for Priaulx it is a move to TUSC from DTM.
Turner is scheduled to test a GTD class Z4 at Daytona; at present only Paul Dalla Lana is listed as a driver. TUSC is allowing European GT3 cars to run in GTD, although it appears that not all of the cars will be allowed to run in European trim. Turner’s car is entered at Daytona as a Z4, not a Z4 GT3; specs should become apparent soon.
Meanwhile, with the defection of Ganassi to Ford and the decision by Team Sahlen to withdraw its Riley-BMWs, there is no Riley-BMW Daytona Prototype team committed to the entire series for 2014. McDonnell told sportscar365.com “It certainly wasn’t a bidding war or anything between us and Ford. Ford was ready to make a larger commitment to the Ganassi organization and I don’t think BMW at this time was ready to make such a commitment going forward.
“With that, BMW has decided that it makes sense for us to sit out of Daytona Prototype and see how the series develops and see how the Balance of Performance (between the DP and P2 cars eligible for the TUSC prototype class, ed.) and things develop, and decide if it’s something we want to participate in in the future.
“We’ll focus on our BMW Team RLL program in GTLM and we’ll also be focusing on the many privateers we have in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and GT Daytona with Turner Motorsport.”
McDonnell indicated that Steve Dinan is free to continue his customer engine program; both the 4.5-liter and 5.0-liter Dinan-built V8s are still eligible. Dagys’ story appears here.—Brian S. MorganBack to News