The leap year Exhaust Notes edition covers a narrow range of news, including the return of the BMW M3 to racing, Ferrari’s final winter F1 practice and a Ferrari SUV(!) of sorts.
SCD is eager for the start of the racing season, particularly the vintage racing season, so we don’t have to grasp for news. Plus, the beginning of the event season begins next Friday with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
M3 Returns to Racing – BMW will return to the American Le Mans Series in 2009 with the latest M3. SCD wonders why BMW is announcing it now, but we welcome them back none the same. SCD assumes BMW will spend 2008 on research and development, so they can hit the ground running (and winning) next year. Although BMW did not mention it, the M3 will surely compete in the stout GT2 class with very strong Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari 430 teams.
Powered by a 485 hp eight cylinder engine, this impressive race car has been designed to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) from 2009 onwards. The car is based on the fourth generation of the BMW M3, the high-performance sports car produced by BMW M GmbH.
“We are very pleased to be returning to the American Le Mans Series with our latest generation BMW M3,” states Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO, BMW of North America. “Sports car racing has been part of BMW of North America’s history practically from day one. Just two weeks after the company was formed in March 1975, a BMW CSL won the 12-hours of Sebring. We are confident that the fourth generation M3 will continue the legacy of its two predecessors which combined to win six manufacturer’s championships over nine seasons. As it has been in the past we believe the ALMS is the ideal venue to showcase the potential of the newest BMW M3.”
BMW’s 2009 entry into the Sports Car Championship will be overseen by the United States-based Team Rahal Letterman operation.
[Source: BMW Motorsport]
Winter Testing – Ferrari concluded their winter testing this week at Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona, Spain, where nothing notable occurred. Why are we reporting it, you ask? Great question – let’s just say that SCD is eager for the F1 season to begin in two weeks.
Circuit: Circuit de Catalunya – 4.655 km
Drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa
Weather: air temperature 15/23 °C, track temperature 15/25 °C. Sunny in the morning, then cloudy.
Today marked the end of winter testing for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in preparation for the start of the World Championship, which gets underway on Sunday 16th March in Melbourne.
Today both drivers – Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen – were out on track running different programs. Felipe was working on set-up, using up the remaining kilometers of engine life in his car: he completed 49 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.22.286. Kimi had a race simulation on his agenda, which he completed despite several interruptions caused by red flags and one precautionary stop to carry out a check on the car at the start of the afternoon. By the end of the day, Kimi had done 80 laps, the quickest in 1.21.933.
The Scuderia will next be on track on 6th March at Fiorano, where Luca Badoer will carry out the shakedown of the cars that will be used in the Australian Grand Prix.
Ferrari SUV – Umm…SCD is biting its proverbial tongue.
From Auto Racing Daily:
Ferrari SUV codename F151 to be released in 2010; the five-passenger ‘ute was rendered by AE’s in-house photochoppers, taking plenty of cues from the 612 Scaglietti, from which the Ferrari SUV might be based. Power is likely to be supplied by one of Maranello’s V8s or V12s, but the real problem isn’t motivation, it’s how that grunt will find its way to the ground.
[Source: Auto Racing Daily]