Less than two years ago the BMW board gave the approval to go endurance racing in the highest global category – LMDh. Given that, perhaps it’s not surprising to see the two all new racing entries of BMW and Porsche (which had a similar timeline) finish at the bottom of the class at this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona. And there are plenty of positives to be had with these results. Still it does hurt a bit as a BMW fan to see the gorgeous BMW M Hybrid V8s so clearly off the pace at this year’s race.

 Let’s see what the team bosses had to say:

We focussed on retaining concentration, driving consistently and making no mistakes. The drivers, the BMW M Motorsport engineers and BMW M Team RLL managed to do that. Unfortunately, it was primarily the common components of the hybrid system that caused us problems which we have to analyse together – especially with the #25 car, as we fell back a long way after having to replace numerous components early in the race. It is a real shame that our hard work over the past weeks and months was not rewarded with a better result. Nonetheless, I am proud and grateful that we managed to make extensive progress with the project in such a short space of time, and crossed the finish line with both BMW M Hybrid V8s. Our ambition is to record wins and podium finishes. We are extremely motivated to draw the right conclusions from this race and come back even stronger at Sebring.

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport)

There’s also some optimism for Sebring from team principle Bobby Rahal as well.

There were little issues, but we weren’t the only ones. Overall this was a good start for us and now we’ll work on this to be better at Sebring. This wasn’t a win – but it almost feels like a win

Bobby Rahal (BMW M Team RLL team principal)

You can read BMW’s full review of the experience below.

BMW M Hybrid V8

Official Release: BMW M Hybrid V8 Finishes 6th At the 24 Hours of Daytona

Daytona, FL – January 29, 2023 . . . Just 598 days after the BMW Group board decision and 188 days after the roll-out, the new BMW M Hybrid V8 has completed its first endurance test at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA). After a brief development period, the first BMW M Motorsport race car with a hybrid powertrain took on the great challenge of the classic endurance race – and both prototypes competing for BMW M Team RLL crossed the finish line. The #24 BMW M Hybrid V8 secured sixth place overall and in the GTP class. Having been forced to take a long break for repairs in the early part of the race, the #25 car finished ninth in the GTP category. Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of the BMW Group, visited Daytona as the car made its race debut.

The season-opener in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the Daytona International Speedway marked the start of a new era for prototype motor racing. It was the first time that hybrid-driven LMDh cars competed in the GTP class, meaning that the BMW M Hybrid V8 completed its baptism of fire under race conditions. Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA), Marco Wittmann (GER) and Colton Herta (USA) gave a consistent performance in the #24 car. The quartet was within striking distance of a podium finish for some time before issues with the hybrid system resulted in a brake problem in the final quarter of the race that cost a substantial amount of time. Final driver Philipp Eng crossed the finish line in sixth place.

BMW M Hybrid V8

The #25 car had to be pushed to the pits to make an extended repair stop in the BMW M Team RLL garage after about an hour. A number of components had to be replaced after failure of the hybrid powertrain – a common component used by all manufacturers. That took around two and a half hours and meant that Connor De Phillippi (USA), Nick Yelloly (GBR), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Colton Herta, who was racing in both cars, were forced to drive right at the back of the field. They still managed to finish the race, chalking up kilometres of testing that will prove valuable when considering the short preparation period and the remainder of the season ahead.

The Board of Management of the BMW Group gave the green light to the development of an LMDh car on 10th June 2021. Just about one year later, on 25th July 2022, the BMW M Hybrid V8 completed its roll-out in Varano de‘ Melegari (ITA). The development and testing stages of the complex hybrid car were correspondingly brief, making preparations for the race debut particularly challenging.

Turner Motorsport and Paul Miller Racing competing in the GTD class.
The GTP cars were joined at Daytona by three BMW M4 GT3s racing in the two GTD categories. In the GTD PRO class, Turner Motorsport competed with the #95 BMW M4 GT3. BMW M works drivers John Edwards (USA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) were in sixth place with Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull (both USA) forced to retire around two and half hours before the end due to problems with the steering. They were classified ninth. In the GTD class, BMW M works driver Maxime Martin (BEL), Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis (all USA) drove the #1 BMW M4 GT3 to eighth place for Paul Miller Racing. After enduring some technical problems, Turner Motorsport crossed the line in 17th position with the #96 BMW M4 GT3 and drivers Jens Klingmann (GER) – also a BMW M works driver, Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and Patrick Gallagher (all USA).

Grand appearance by BMW M at Daytona.
BMW M was not just represented on the circuit at Daytona. At the new exhibition space in the Fan Area on Friday, BMW M GmbH CEO Franciscus van Meel presented the new BMW M3 CS (fuel consumption (combined): 10.4 to 10.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 234 – 229 g/km acc. WLTP). The Safety Cars were the BMW XM (fuel consumption (combined) in l/100 km: 1.6-1.5 (WLTP); electric energy use (combined) in kWh/100 km: 30.1-28.9 (WLTP); combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 36-33 (WLTP). Electric range in km: 82-88 (WLTP)) and the BMW M4 CSL (fuel consumption (combined): 10.1 – 9.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 227 – 222 g/km acc. WLTP). BMW M was once again title sponsor of the BMW M Endurance Challenge, the season-opener in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Five new BMW M4 GT4s competed in the 4-hour race. The best-placed crew from Stephen Cameron Racing crossed the line in 13th place.