BMW M Motorsport announced in June 2021 it’ll be entering in the Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) hypercar category from 2023. Now, it’s shown a teaser of what the race car could look like.
Called the BMW M LMDh, the front-on teaser image shows BMW’s signature kidney grille in the form of two enlarged front air intakes, dual-tiered front canards and a sleek, aerodynamic body synonymous with any Le Mans racer.
The teaser was designed in collaboration with BMW M Motorsport and BMW Group Designworks.
“Uniting the iconic elements of BMW M Motorsport design DNA with the performant architecture of an ua-modern prototype is what this project is all about,” said Michael Scully, BMW Group Designworks Global automotive director.
BMW Team RLL has confirmed it’ll field two LMDh prototypes in the 2023 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) racing season where they’ll be built on a platform developed by Italian race car manufacturing partner, Dallara.
These platforms are based on an upgraded LMP2 chassis, of which four are available from four different manufacturers: Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic, and ORECA.
Per class regulations, hybrid prototypes have a minimum weight of 1030kg, use a 50kW Bosch hybrid system and Williams Advanced Engineering battery pack, and an Xtrac transmission. Total system output is capped at 500kW.
Though the hybrid system is standardised, participating automakers can select the engine it’s mated to and design a body of their choice, provided it meets the regulations.
This hybrid hypercar racing class was jointly conceived by IMSA, FIA and ACO so the hybrid hypercar prototypes can enter the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship.
This means that the racers can not only enter and race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the USA, but can also race in the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans.
At this stage, BMW M Motorsport has only confirmed its LMDh racer will only be competing in the North American-based IMSA racing championship.
“The LMDh project continues to gain momentum and I am confident that next year we will once again take all necessary steps as planned to be as well prepared as possible for entering our first IMSA season with the LMDh prototypes in 2023,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH.
Don’t be surprised if BMW M Motorsport jumps on the FIA World Endurance Championship bandwagon and enters its LMDh racer in Le Mans, because it has some history at the circuit.
In 1999, BMW last entered and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its V12 LMR racer.
It’s possible this LMDh racer could act as a spiritual successor to the 1999 BMW Le Mans entry, but it’ll be up against some tough competition.
Other manufacturers such as Acura, Audi, Cadillac and Porsche have confirmed entries for the LMDh class in 2023, with Alpine joining in 2024.
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