After announcing the launch of its LMDh prototype from 2023 in North America, BMW took advantage of the first laps of its M Hybrid V8 in Italy to confirm its commitment to the WEC from 2024.
The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be hotly contested. While brands like Toyota and Peugeot are already involved in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and will be joined from 2023 by Porsche, Ferrari and Cadillac, it will be necessary to count on one more constructor the following year. In addition to Alpine and Lamborghini, BMW officially confirmed this Tuesday its commitment to the WEC from the 2024 season, exactly 25 years after the last appearance of the brand in the elite of endurance racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the V12 LMR then entrusted in particular to Frenchman Yannick Dalmas. The Bavarian brand will arrive in the world championship with a prototype meeting the LMDh standard, that is to say that only the heat engine and aerodynamics will be designed in-house in order to reduce costs, called BMW M Hybrid V8 and which will have proven itself in 2023 in the IMSA North American Championship.
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) July 26, 2022
BMW could not launch the two projects at the same time
The announcement came as the prototype, in the care of Sheldon van der Linde and Connor de Philippi, made its first laps at the Italian circuit of Varano, test track used by the chassis manufacturer Dallara, which has entered into a partnership with BMW and which will also be alongside Cadillac. The arrival in the WEC in a second time is justified by Andreas Roos, boss of BMW Motorsport by the “very tight schedule of the LMDh project”. But he said that the “medium-term objective was obviously to race on two fronts with the BMW M Hybrid V8, and also to use the large platform offered by the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans”. The German brand intends to field two different teams in the two championships, with the first announcements expected shortly regarding the North American component of the project.