Exciting news coming from our Motorsport team, for the first time in 25 years, BMW will once again race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Back in 1999, Joachim Winkelhock (GER), Pierluigi Martini (ITA) and Yannick Dalmas (FRA) took overall victory after 24 hours of racing in the BMW V12 LMR, securing the teams first ever victory at the world famous event.
“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,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “... I am very excited to be challenging for overall victory as BMW M Motorsport again... “
New Horizons for M.
After its debut in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year, the new BMW M Hybrid V8 will take on fierce competition in the Hyercar Category for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Franciscus van Meel said, “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 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.”
The BMW M Hybrid V8 not only used the Dallara test track for its first functional test, but also spends several days on the track there this week. BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) alternate at the wheel. “It’s been an honour and a pleasure to complete the first laps of the BMW M Hybrid V8”, said De Phillippi after Monday’s roll-out.
“This was a historic day for BMW M Motorsport within the LMDh project. Step by step we went through all functions of the car and by the end of the day we were able to do some laps with nearly full power, which is a good result for a roll-out. A huge thank you to everybody working so hard for this project at BMW M Motorsport, BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Team RMG and Dallara!” said De Phillippi.
Young prospect, Sheldon van der Linde, is looking to cap off his 'Bucket list' at the 24 hour race, after fulfilling half of it earlier this year. Speaking with motorspoprt.com in November of last year, Van der Linde said that “At the moment there are two things I want to do, Bathurst 12 Hour and Le Mans," “Those are the two big items I haven't ticked off my bucket list and I hope that in the next two years I get to tick off both." Well, after a brilliant performance from Van der Linde and Team WRT had them coming home fourth in Bathurst earlier this year, he's left with only one more item on that bucket list, and we're sure he's looking forward to it.
The Team are currently doing very well with the car them finishing in the top five in three out of their four 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship races. Even though we're still many months away from the Le Mans battle of attrition, there is still a lot of anticipation for the team.BMW's last outing at Le Mans saw them take home the victory and end on a high. Let's hope they can pick up they left off.