The future of Le Mans is looking bright as BMW has joined an assortment of other automakers by announcing a return to the iconic race.
Following its debut in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024.
This is huge news as it will mark BMW’s first running of a prototype in 25 years. While that seems like an eternity, the company went out with a bang as Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini, and Yannick Dalmas were victorious in their V12 LMR in 1999.
Also Read: BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh Race Car Debuts, Will Compete In IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Getting back to the present, the BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete in the Hypercar class and testing is already underway as the model “successfully completed its roll-out at Dallara in Varano de Melegari.” While much of the early focus is on their efforts in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW M Motorsport boss Andreas Roos said they are “working determinedly” towards a return to Le Mans.
His sentiments were echoed by BMW M CEO Frank van Meel, who said “The decision to run the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the IMSA series from 2023, and the WEC from 2024, is a milestone for the project.” He added, “The IMSA series in North America and the WEC, which takes place all over the world, are the perfect platforms, on which to use our prototype to show how exciting electrified BMW M cars will be in the future.”
As a refresher, the LMDh prototype was introduced last month and features a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine producing a regulated output of approximately 631 hp (471 kW / 640 PS) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque. It’s joined by a hybrid drive system that consists of an electric motor, an inverter, and a high-voltage battery. This enables the racer to be driven on electricity alone, such as when traveling to and from the pits.