Today BMW takes the wraps off of the eagerly anticipated BMW M Hybrid V8. This is the long waited LMDh Prototype that will compete in the North American IMSA series beginning at the 24 Hour of Daytona. While it’s technically still camouflaged, it’s clearly a striking car that’s intended to balance aero-led design with BMW heritage.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 is being run in the IMSA LMDh Prototype class which is garnering lots of attention from manufactures from Porsche to Ferrari. The reason for the interest is both global awareness and cost control – these cars are all based on spec chassis with brand specific bodywork and drivetrains. Because of key components being standardized the cost to develop and run these cars should be a fraction of what we in the WEC over the last few decades.
Did we say WEC? There’s no secret that the ultimate goal here is to not just race IMSA but to race in the WEC and LeMans. While BMW isn’t announcing a formal return to the Sarthe track, expect something on that front later this year – perhaps for the 2024 season. Meanwhile it will be a revelation to see the car on tracks such as Road America and Leguna Seca in the IMSA series.
OFFICIAL RELEASE: BMW M Hybrid V8 – The IMSA LMDh Prototype
Ahead of the testing phase for the LMDh prototype for the 2023 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, BMW M Motorsport announces the name, the design, and an exciting camouflage livery for the car. The BMW M Hybrid V8 will sport a look designed by BMW Group Designworks, and celebrates the history of BMW M Motorsport in North America while defining a dynamic hybrid electric future. Key information for fans is that the prototype is clearly recognizable as a BMW M car.
This message is echoed by Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH: “The most critical task and the greatest challenge for the design team in the LMDh programme design team was that the prototype must be clearly recognisable as a BMW M Motorsport car. And I can say this to all the fans, just one look is enough to confirm that the BMW M Hybrid V8 is a BMW. It clearly carries the genes of BMW M. I also love the camouflage livery with its references to the great history of the brand in North America. Congratulations to the design and aerodynamics departments at BMW M Motorsport and Dallara on their great work. I can hardly wait to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 on the track soon.”
The hallmark of the design for the BMW M Hybrid V8 is the wide kidney. In addition, it boasts typical BMW M design elements such as the nested 50th anniversary logo on the hood, twin BMW icon lights, dynamic body side, Hofmeister kink window graphic, M ‘hook’ mirrors and the tail-lights. The camouflage livery in which the BMW M Hybrid V8 will complete its testing, contains many elements from five decades of motor racing history in North America. The images of iconic racecars – the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1981 BMW M1/C, the 1978 BMW 320i Turbo, the 1986 BMW GTP, the BMW M3 E36 GTS-2, the BMW Z4 GTLM and the BMW M8 GTE – create a graphic mosaic which obscures the shape of the BMW M Hybrid V8 to maintain competitive IP during development testing.
“My team’s job was to make the BMW M Hybrid V8 look like a BMW, and embrace every opportunity to make it also perform like one on the race track,” said BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director Michael Scully. “The design is rooted in BMW’s DNA of purposeful, efficient performance, and the exterior’s bold, determined character invokes BMW’s frontiersmanship of turbo power, now united with an optimised hybrid electric powertrain. The camouflage livery celebrates the 50 Years of M by commemorating the great cars of BMW’s storied history in IMSA racing while uniquely cloaking the BMW M Hybrid V8’s future-facing exterior geometry and technologies during the critical on-track development phase of the project. If you look closely you’ll discover multiple winners of the Daytona 24 Hours, as well as the very first purpose-built IMSA GTP car from 1981, the BMW M1/C. We’ll follow-up this camouflage with a works livery that exemplifies the dynamism and excitement of hybrid electric-powered competition.”