BMW will enter its new M Hybrid V8 race car in the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2024, the automaker said Tuesday.
This will add to BMW’s previously announced participation in the IMSA SportsCar Championship starting in 2023.
The M Hybrid V8 has been designed to meet the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) regulations, with cars suitable for both the GTP and Hypercar classes, the respective premier classes of the World Endurance and Sports Car Championship. Likewise, cars designed to meet current LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) regulations are also eligible for both classes. Performance balance rules will be used to ensure a level playing field.
Racing cars BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh from 2023 and BMW V12 LMR from 1999
Basically, the entry of the M Hybrid V8 into the World Endurance Championship means that BMW will compete at the highest level in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most important event on the World Endurance Championship calendar. It will be a first for BMW since 1999, when its sporty V12 LMR prototype secured the automaker’s first and only overall victory in the French classic. In the same year the car also triumphed at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Acura, Alpine, Audi (possibly), Cadillac, Lamborghini and Porsche are developing LMDh race cars, while ByKolles, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot and Toyota are developing or have developed LMH cars.
The M Hybrid V8 uses a chassis from the Italian Dallara, one of the four companies that supply chassis for the category. The car will have to tip the scales to a minimum of 1,030 kilograms (2,270 lbs) and its powertrain, a hybrid configuration using a twin-turbo version of a 4.0-liter V-8 from a previous DTM racing program, can generate at any time a maximum power of about 670 hp.
BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh race car engine from 2023
The BMW M will carry out its LMDh campaign with American Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, under the banner of BMW Team RLL. The current plan is to field two of the cars in the 2023 SportsCar championship. Bobby Rahal, co-owner of RLL Racing, will be the team principal. He will work closely with Maurizio Leschiutta, BMW project leader for the LMDh program. It is unclear whether Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will also be selected for entry to the World Endurance Championship. BMW has yet to nominate drivers for its LMDh program.
The M Hybrid V8 underwent its first shakedown test on Monday at the Italian circuit of Varano de Melegari. More tests will take place in Europe throughout August before the program moves to the United States in September.
The first race will be the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2023 next January. The race is the opening round of the 2023 SportsCar Championship and the first for LMDh.