After a day of quite some gap in detail from the apparent confirmation by Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH, of a BMW LMDH programme from 2023 the Bavarian-based manufacturer has now confirmed that they will enter the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship from 2023 with a two-car Works outfit.
The full BMW statement follows – it confirms the US programme, but with no news yet of the works team or drivers. Neither does it confirm the chassis supplier (LMDH cars are based on the next generation of LMP2 chassis with four chassis builders as an option), though unconfirmed officially, DSC understands that Dallara will be the chassis partner for the BMW programme.
There is no mention either at this point of any plans or desires to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours, or of the availability of customer cars. DSC understands though that the potential for additional programmes with factory assistance is far from impossible!
BMW M Motorsport is returning to international prototype racing. On Thursday, it was confirmed that an LMDh car is being developed for use in the North American IMSA series. From the 2023 season, this car will allow BMW M Motorsport to compete for overall race wins at such prestigious classics as Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta (all USA).
“BMW is back on the big motorsport stage,” said Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “In entering the LMDh class, BMW M Motorsport is fulfilling the prerequisites to challenge for overall victory at the most iconic endurance races in the world from 2023. We will be fully focussed on tackling this challenge. There is a spirit of optimism here. BMW has a successful history in prototype racing – the Le Mans victory in 1999 was unforgettable. Reviving this story in a modern prototype with M Power will thrill fans of BMW M Motorsport. The LMDh concept guarantees maximum cost control and offers a wide range of possible applications, including the IMSA series in North America, an extremely important market for BMW M. We are all eager to get stuck into the LMDh category with a compact and highly-efficient team set-up.”
Mike Krack, Head of BMW M Motorsport, is responsible for the development, testing and race outings of the new car. He added: “Everyone in our motorsport team shares the same motivation: we want to test ourselves against our strongest opposition at the racetrack – and to celebrate victories for BMW. As such, the LMDh project is a real affair of the heart for us and exactly the new challenge we were hoping for. An extremely exciting project awaits us. To challenge for overall victories in Daytona and Sebring is a massive motivation. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the anticipation is immense.”
The regulations for LMDh cars stipulate that they have both a combustion engine and an electric motor. While each manufacturer may develop their own combustion engine, the electric motor and battery, as well as the transmission, are standard parts. The chassis is also built by an external partner. A BMW M Motorsport works involvement, with two cars, is planned from the 2023 IMSA season. The works team and the driver line-up for the two LMDh prototypes will be announced at a later date.
The last big win for a BMW prototype came in 1999, when the BMW V12 LMR won the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA). The car also won the 12 Hours of Sebring in the USA in the same season.