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Grand-Am Scales Back New BMW Engine

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, August 5 2013

Daytona Prototypes using the new 4.5-liter BMW engine have been ordered to scale back power.

The Grand-Am Rolex Series on Monday released a technical bulletin announcing that its officials have taken steps to scale back the power of the recently introduced 4.5-liter BMW Daytona Prototype engines.

The scale-back comes in a form of limiting the new engines – which powered the cars that placed first and second at the Brickyard 400 two weeks ago in their racing debut – to 8,050 RPMs. That is a reduction of 150 RPMs.

Drivers and team owners utilizing non-BMW engines complained to RacinToday.com last week about new engines.

Michael Shank, the owner of Michael Shank Racing whose cars run Ford engines, was very concerned about the new M-3 based BMW engines when he visited Kansas Speedway last week.

“They (series officials) allowed a whole new motor, what I call the baby BMW, the little BMW, and they allowed that to happen,” Shank said. “Not only did they allow that to happen, but they allowed the motor to come in way too strong. They didn’t get the BoP (balance of performance) correct on it.”

Shank said he believed that the power numbers which BMW submitted to the series on the new engine might have been off.

“They (BMW teams) just flat got more of everything,” he said. “They got a six-speed (gearbox because the size of the engines fell to a level where rules allowed that over a five-speed), they got 8,200 RPM. The motor’s a little smaller in displacement but whatever data they (Grand-Am officials) gather from BMW, it was incorrect.”

He said he would take his concerns to series officials. His plea was not to allow other engines to increase their power, but to scale back the new BMWs – which were smaller in terms of displacement – but were more powerful. Shank contended that the older, M-5 based, 5.0 liter engines were already more powerful than the others on the track.

Max Angelelli, who drives a Chevrolet Corvette for Wayne Taylor Racing, told RacinToday.com that the Chip Ganassi Racing team, which has been using Steve Dinan built BMW engines and winning championships with them for several years, is very adept at playing games with rule makers.

“They play very good strategies,” Angelelli said this week. “They sandbag it. They plead to Grand-Am for more power because they don’t have enough. And then when they mean to use it (the power), they use it. I think before the race they say, ‘Should we win this race or not? Or should we just finish second.’ They use the least amount of power just to complete the task. But when it’s time to use the full power, they have it.”

Grand-Am released news of their decision Monday without comment.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, August 5 2013
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