BMW’S 2018 Le Mans racer, the M8 GTE, has been officially revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Teaser images have previously shown the car testing, but now we can get an opportunity to look up the skirt of the twin-turbo racing beast, in particular the intricate and complex aerodynamics.
However, that’s not all that is mouth-watering about this beast. BMW has bucked the trend and revealed the M8 race car well before showing the public a skerrick of the road car’s sheet metal.
This makes the M8 GTE our first glimpse at what BMW’s new halo model could look like once it arrives on our roads in late-2018 or early-2019.
GTE regulations dictate that the cars must be based off production vehicles, so save for the large wings, splitters, and air dams, this is design of the M8 road car.
Straight away we can see BMW has kept the large kidney grills of the 8 Series concept car.
The M8’s design is centred on the classic long-bonnet coupe silhouette, with enough room up front to mid-mount the twin-turbo V8 unit used in the race car.
The sloping rear roofline gives the grand tourer a sleek appearance, with what appears to be space for a 2+2 setup in the production car.
The measurements of the race car will be bulkier than the road faring version, but it gives us a hint at the production vehicles final size.
The M8 GTE is 4980mm long without the rear wing, 2046mm wide without the specially designed wing mirrors, and 1212mm tall, while it wheelbase measures in at 2880mm.
The M8 GTE will compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and North American IMSA Sportscar championship. Making its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the car will then herald a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for BMW.
BMW last competed at the iconic event in 2011 with the M3 GT2, and won the race outright in 1999 with the V12 LMR.
The engine of the M8 GTE is a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, the same seen in the M6 GT3 racer, producing 372kW.
The engine is restricted by BMW in both size and power to meet FIA GTE performance requirements.
The engine in the production M8 should be both larger in capacity and power figures than the GTE. It’s likely to be a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, with more power than the rest of the M range.
Weighing just 1220kg, thanks to the stripped out interior and lightweight materials used in construction, the M8 GTE is sure to take the fight to competitors such as the Ferrari 488 GTE, Ford GT GTE, Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray GTE, and Porsche 911 RSR.
A fascinating aspect of the M8 GTE’s engineering was the use of artificial intelligence in developing the multi-stage traction control, along with 3D printing technology.
“The BMW M8 GTE is our new GT flagship and will go head to head with the strong opposition in this sector,” BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said.
“For us, the presentation of the uncamouflaged car at the IAA is the next important step on the road to our first race outing, which we plan to be the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2018.
“The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are top competitive environments for our new challenger. With the BMW M8 GTE, we are bringing cutting-edge technology to the top international class of GT racing, whilst at the same time tying in with our tradition at Le Mans.
“The development of the BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we can hardly wait to see the car challenging for victories in 2018.”