BMW plans to return to WEC and Le Mans with hybrid V8 hypercar in 2024
After a two-decade hiatus, BMW M Motorsport has announced that it will be returning to the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours series with its new M Hybrid V8 racer.
With that said, Franciscus van Meel, the CEO of BMW M GmbH, announced that the team will be racing the M Hybrid V8 in the hypercars category. Connor De Phillippi from the USA and Sheldon van der Linde, who hails from South Africa, will be alternating at the wheel.
The hypercar has been undergoing testing at the Dallara test track for its first functional test and the team seems excited about the return to the WEC. The hypercar has successfully completed its roll-out at Dallara in Varano de Melegari and it will undergo intensive testing before its race debut in January 2023 at Daytona.
"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. Van Meel further went on to say that he sampled and marvelled at the extraordinary flair of the 24 Hours of Le Mans during his first term as CEO of BMW M and he is very excited to be challenged for overall victory as BMW M Motorsport again.
In August, more European tests are scheduled to happen before BMW M Team RLL and a crew of BMW M Motorsport experts start IMSA-specific preparations with testing in the USA from September.
In 2024, BMW M Motorsport will return to the grid with a prototype version for the first time since 1999, when Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini and Yannick Dalmas took overall victory after 24 hours of racing at the helm of the BMW V12 LMR. The same car emerged victorious at the 12 Hours of Sebring in the same year.
At the race, the new BMW M Hybrid V8 will compete with the Porsche 963, Acura ARX-06, and Cadillac Grand Touring Prototype Hypercar. Its 4.0-litre unit with a pair of turbochargers will bring the challenge to these rivals with 477 kW and 650 Nm.