- BMW set for WEC and IMSA assault in 2023
- Fourth confirmed manufacturer for new LMDh class
- Last Le Mans victory came in 1999
Nearly 25 years after taking glory at Circuit De La Sarthe, BMW will again attempt to conquer the 24 Hours of Le Mans, announcing it will enter a car in the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) class which is set to debut in 2023.
Recently appointed boss of BMW's M division, Markus Flasch, shared a photo of the company's 1999 V12 LMR prototype with the caption: "We are back. Daytona 2023".
The new LMDh regulations will be applied to the World Endurance Championship (WEC), which Le Mans is a round of, as well as the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the United States, its flagship event being the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
LMDh was born out of the spiralling costs and departure of major manufacturers like Porsche and Audi from LMP1, essentially leaving Toyota to dominate the WEC over the past few years and allowing the Japanese marque to win Le Mans three years in a row.
So far confirmed as competitors to BMW in LMDh will be; Audi, Porsche and Acura (Honda's North American arm), while the Le Mans Hybrid (LMH) class, which only runs in WEC events but competes for outright victories with LMDh, will feature; Toyota, Alpine, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, Peugeot, ByKolles and Ferrari.
Though so far unconfirmed, it is likely BMW's challenger will be based on a hybrid powertrain, utilising a 50kW unit on the rear axle with a choice of internal combustion engines available, and teamed up to create a maximum combined power of 500kW.
BMW's first success at Le Mans came in 1995 when its S70/2 V12 engine powered a McLaren F1 GTR to victory, waiting just four more years for its first factory victory.
BMW competed in the GTE class at Le Mans from 2018 to 2020 with the BMW M8, but recorded no victories, also recently bowing out of the all-electric Formula E series to focus on other motorsports projects.
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