BMW has revealed its prototype race car for the 2023 season, the M Hybrid V8, although it has cloaked it in a camouflage of sorts. Still, we can make out the massive kidney grille, large headlight housings with twin LED strips and detailed taillight design.
The M Hybrid V8 will be eligible to race at both the 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans, although BMW will focus on the former and the accompanying full IMSA championship.
The battle in endurance racing is heating up. Major manufacturers—including Ferrari, Porsche, Cadillac, Acura, and BMW—are preparing prototype race cars for both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Daytona and the World Endurance Championship (WEC), which features the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now BMW has given the first full look at its entry, still wrapped in a camouflage of sorts, as it begins testing on its top-class racer. e GTP class, IMSA is encouraging manufacturers to incorporate styling cues from its roadgoing cars, and BMW heeded that call (and then some) with the design of the M Hybrid V8. Up front, the M logo cascades into an angled concave channel that slopes down from the prow. Twin gaping snouts are laser-lit and rake backward at the outer edges, evoking a hint of a snarl when viewed at an angle. The windshield wraps around into the side windows, terminating in a Hofmeister kink. Out back, the massive diffuser sweeps up into the taillights, which resemble a set of interlocked hockey sticks. The BMW M Hybrid V8 has arrived in North America and was presented to the public in its racing colors for the first time at a launch event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles (USA).Los Angeles. The BMW M Hybrid V8 has arrived in North America and was presented to the public in its racing colors for the first time at a launch event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles (USA). The prototype developed by BMW M Motorsport in 25 years will sport an avant-garde livery that leverages the iconic BMW M colors when it competes in the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023. The four core drivers who will take their place at the wheel of the two BMW M Team RLL cars were also announced at the Petersen Museum. They are BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA), and Nick Yelloly (GBR). When the car makes its race debut at Daytona (USA) in January 2023, it will receive big-name support from IndyCar series driver Colton Herta (USA). Dubbed the BMW M Hybrid V8, the car has traditional endurance-racing proportions with a low hood, narrow cockpit, flared wheel arches, and towering rear wing. But the gaping nostrils dominating the front end are distinctly BMW, and the two LED strips in the chunky headlight housings attempt to mimic the twin lights on production BMWs. The BMW Motorsport 50th Anniversary badge lies in a canyon on the hood between two extreme character lines, just like on 2023 M3s and M4s. The intricate LED taillights echo the units found on the latest M4 CSL, and BMW even designed the window shape with the iconic Hofmeister kink design.
The M Hybrid V8 is being developed for the GTP class (originally named LMDh) in the IMSA championship. Both the GTP cars and the LMH cars—being designed for WEC—will be eligible to race in IMSA and WEC, but there are some differences. The intriguingly asymmetrical livery takes the BMW-ness to the next level. On the right side, the M colors flit about the bodywork like a flock of butterflies. When viewed straight on, the fractal shades accentuate the angular lines of the bodywork. Its only when you take a few steps to either axle that you notice the "M" flowing along the rear of the cockpit. The left side is far less subtle, with the impossible-to-miss M stretching across the entire rear quarter and atop the edge of the rear wing.
Blessed with an array of race-ready powerplants, BMW engineers opted to develop an existing engine to meet LMDh specs rather than build one from scratch. After evaluating the P48 four-cylinder from the 2020 M4 DTM (too small) and the P63 turbo V-8 from the M8 GTE (too big), they found the naturally aspirated P66 V-8 from the 2018 M4 DTM to be just right. Now featuring twin turbos, this 4.0-liter V-8 features a redline of 8200 rpm and delivers up to 640 horsepower. It’s mated to an IMSA-specified hybrid system, while a separator clutch between the two engines allows for electric-only driving at pit speeds.
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