BMW M Motorsport returns to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) in 2024. A year after its first season in the IMSA North American Championship in 2023, the new BMW M Hybrid V8. on the world stage in the WEC. On Monday 25 July, the first BMW M Motorsport prototype since the legendary BMW V12 LMR made its first laps at the Varano circuit in Melegari (ITA).
“The decision to run the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the IMSA series from 2023, and in the WEC from 2024, is an important step for the project”said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “I tasted and was amazed by the extraordinary style of the 24 Hours of Le Mans during my first term as CEO of BMW M. I am therefore very excited to fight for the overall victory as BMW M Motorsport in this classic and around the world. endurance championship for the first time in decades. The BMW M Hybrid V8 represents a turning point towards electrification for BMW M. The IMSA series in North America and the WEC, which takes place in around the world, they are the perfect platforms for Use our prototype to show how exciting electrified BMW M cars will be in the future.”
We thought for a moment that this commitment to the WEC and Le Mans could have been made as early as 2023, but the schedule was too tight.
Andreas Roos, head of BMW M Motorsport, said: “Due to the very tight schedule of the LMDh project, the plan has always been to focus on a single application area in the first season of 2023. The IMSA series is perfectly suited for this. However, our aim in medium term was obviously to race on two fronts with the BMW M Hybrid V8, and also to use the great platform offered by the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We are now working on this with determination, together with our program in America Nord. On Monday, it reached another important milestone. The car successfully completed its first run at Dallara in Varano de Melegari. Now we begin the intensive testing work ahead of the race debut in January 2023 at Daytona.”
The BMW M Hybrid V8 not only used the Dallara test track for its first functional test, but also spent several days on the track there this week. BMW M drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) take turns behind the wheel. “It was an honor and a pleasure to take the first laps in the BMW M Hybrid V8”De Phillippi said after Monday’s taxi. “It was a historic day for BMW M Motorsport within the LMDh project. Step by step we went through all the functions of the car and at the end of the day we were able to do a few laps with almost full power, which is a good result for to a burn-in. Many thanks to everyone who worked so hard on this project at BMW M Motorsport, BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Team RMG and Dallara!”
Further tests in Europe are planned for August before BMW M Team RLL and a team of experts from BMW M Motorsport begin IMSA-specific preparations with tests in the United States from the start of the school year. During the testing phase, numerous official BMW M drivers will be behind the wheel. The identity of those who will occupy the seats for the 2023 IMSA season will be decided at a later date. The same goes for the WEC operational squad and drivers for the 2024 season.
In 2024, BMW M Motorsport will return to Le Mans with a prototype for the first time since 1999. Then Joachim Winkelhock (GER), Pierluigi Martini (ITA) and Yannick Dalmas (FRA) took the overall victory after 24 hours of racing . behind the wheel of the BMW V12 LMR. In the same year, the car also won the 12 Hours of Sebring (USA), where the BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in 2023.