BMW has confirmed that it will race its M Hybrid V8 hypercar in the highest class of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2024. The WEC includes the Le Mans 24 Hours, so 2024 will be the first time that BMW has made an appearance at the iconic event since 1999, when it was victorious with the V12 LMR.
- M Hybrid V8 to compete in USA’s IMSA championship next year
- WEC entry in 2024
- BMW’s last Le Mans appearance was in 1999
BMW M Hybrid V8 to race in IMSA and WEC
BMW had unveiled its new LMDh prototype, the M Hybrid V8, earlier this year. It’s built according to FIA's new LMDh regulations, which debuts next season, and will give teams a chance to compete in the highest class of both the WEC and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Earlier, BMW had only confirmed plans to compete in the US-based IMSA Championship next year. But it has now announced its intention to race in the WEC the following year too. “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 Frank van Meel, the CEO of BMW M.
"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.”
BMW to take on Porsche, Toyota
The M Hybrid V8 is one of a number of all-new electrified endurance racers from mainstream manufacturers due to hit the track in the coming years.
Porsche, Acura and Cadillac will also field entries in the LMDh class next year. They’ll be joined by Lamborghini and Alpine in 2024. Audi was due to join sibling brand Porsche in the series from next year but has put its plans on ice.
All LMDh cars use a spec hybrid system comprising a 49hp electric motor integrated with an Xtrac gearbox and powered by batteries from Williams Advanced Engineering. A turbocharged V8 engine of undisclosed capacity will take BMW's racer up to the maximum 680hp combined output permitted by the regulations.
Of the four nominated chassis suppliers, BMW – like Cadillac – has opted to go with Italian manufacturer Dallara, while Porsche will use Multimatic-supplied underpinnings and Acura has partnered with France's Oreca.
Manufacturers have free reign over the design of their cars, however, and BMW has opted for a look that nods heavily to both its current road cars and celebrates the 50th anniversary of its performance division.