A BMW-powered car won the Daytona 24 this weekend and BMW had little to nothing to do with it. Why?
This question came up when we reviewed BMW's quasi-victory at Daytona with an eye towards Le Mans. Our resident racing expert porsche9146 pointed out how little BMW has to do with the Ganassi team's win.
BMW's not really involved in the program. The Ganassi engines are created by Dinan.
Originally, they used a Lexus powerplant because Lexus funded the team, but they left in the 2009-2010 offseason, so Ganassi went to Dinan (who made the Lexus engine as well) and basically requested the best possible engine, and what they gave them was based on the BMW M3's V8. BMW barely pays the program, which is why there's no actual BMW badges on the car, just a few mentions to "BMW Power" and "BMW M Performance Parts". You can tell that BMW doesn't particularly care for the operation because they didn't ever bother to tell Ganassi to put kidney grilles on the car.
Ganassi should indeed go to Le Mans, and partnering with BMW would be a good way to do it, but it's a pretty big jump from "private team wins DP without factory help" to "full factory effort in LMP".
Jfelton pointed out that the engine is even less relevant to what's currently in BMW's lineup.
It's the S62 B50 engine, based off the old E39 M5 engine. Not the S65 in the new M3.
DAYTONA PROTOTYPES ENGINE ELIGIBILITY AND APPROVAL LIST as of January 15, 2013
The following engines have been approved for competition in Daytona Prototypes.
BMW S62-B50 32 valve 5.0L V-8
Bore: 3.701" Stroke: 3.502" Minimum crank weight: 40 lbs Maximum compression ratio: 11:1 Cylinder heads and intake cannot be ported. Intake valve: 1.377" Exhaust valve: 1.200" Piston, rings, pin and connecting rod: 936gm minimum Maximum camshaft lift @ retainer with zero lash: .500" Maximum cam duration: 260° @ .050" lift Induction: 8 individual butterflies @ 1.965" Must use OEM intake manifold base with trumpets as submitted (Dinan # DC763-0003 8.750 length trumpet). Air intake to be sealed to 11 x 9 9/16 hole in top of OE intake manifold. Must use approved air box. Cam profile on file cannot be changed RPM limit: 7000 Maximum fuel pressure 5 bar (72.5 psi)
So Ganassi's BMW-powered car actually uses an engine out of an old E39 M5. I think that's extremely, extremely wonderful, but BMW doesn't share my enthusiasm. It makes business sense, I suppose, because a two-generations-old engine doesn't make great ad copy.
In my opinion, BMW is making a big mistake here. The Bavarians are happy to throw their weight behind racing M3s, but when there are overall victories at stake, they're completely distant. Lame.
Photo Credit: Trevor Andrusko/Track9 Media