With the new BMW 8 Series already revealed in concept form, BMW has new confirmed the expected news both of an M8 road-going version and that this car will form the basis for the 2018 M8 GTE, bound for the FIA WEC.
A fully camouflaged, early prototype of the future BMW M8 road car will be unveiled in a driving presentation as part of the support programme prior to the Nürburgring 24-hour race.
The race car though will debut in the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona after a roll out scheduled “for the first half of this year” – therefore in the next five weeks – DSC understands though that the car is not currently slated for display at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours.
“The BMW M8 GTE development programme for our Le Mans comeback is in full swing,” says BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “Developing a new racing car is always exciting, and in the case of the BMW M8 GTE the anticipation is that much greater still. We can’t reveal any pictures yet, but I can promise you that the BMW M8 GTE will look spectacular. We are planning an initial roll-out for the first half of this year and are looking at giving the car its race debut in the Daytona 24 Hours in late January 2018.”
DSC understands however that BMW’s initial plans for the new GTE car were dashed after initial outline approval from the FIA over the waivers required for their original chosen design were over-ruled by at least two other GTE manufacturers, BMW initially planning to make a substantial change to the overall dimensions of the car – believed to involve c.10 cms being removed from the height of the race car compared to the roadgoing version.
The current design will see a much more modest reduction in height, believed to be at the bottom of the doors.