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The motorsport world is preparing for what is probably the biggest race of the year: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is therefore logical to think of the classic Le Mans when you see the BMW M Hybrid V8, the latest racing prototype from Munich… But the reality is a bit more complicated. Presentation, and explanations!

One car for the United States and Le Mans

If BMW has recently abandoned its presence in the WEC Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is not the same across the Atlantic. In the United States, the endurance championship is called IMSA, and has remained very popular with spectators and builders alike. The latter are preparing their cars for the 2023 season, under new technical regulations. But the good news for us is that this new technical regulation is shared with the ACO, and therefore the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

Any prototype developed for races in IMSA can therefore come and race in the Sarthe. This is also the case with the BMW M Hybrid V8! This prototype, designed for the United States, meets the requirements of the LMDh category, and can in theory face Toyota, Alpine, Glickenhaus, but also Peugeot, Porsche or Ferrari from 2023.

BMW M Hybrid V8: 700 hp and a house look!

Technically, this category is a kind of “LMP2 Plus”. The chassis, here designed by Dallara, is compatible with the LMP2, to reduce costs. Manufacturers can then apply their house styling, and choose an engine. In terms of style, there is no doubt that this racing boat is indeed a BMW. We immediately recognize the brand grille, with its large nostrils. These allow air to be channeled into the car and to the brake scoops. The optics are rejected at the corners of the front face, with a light signature formed by two LED strips. The rest of the style of this BMW M Hybrid V8 is mainly dictated by aerodynamics. However, we find the Hoffmeister Kinkthis line that “closes” the back of the window.

On the technical side, as its name suggests, the BMW M Hybrid will be equipped with a… V8 hybrid. The motor in question is derived from the block used in DTM, and is therefore not linked to a series model. BMW adds two turbos here, and above all a hybrid system. This system is mandatory in the LMDh category, with a maximum power of 67 hp. The whole cannot, moreover, exceed the 697 hp, what is left, you will admit, is more than enough in a car that should remain under the ton. Everything can be adjusted race by race by the organizers to ensure a performance balancing between different cars.

Soon at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?

So could we see the BMW M Hybrid V8 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans soon? At present, BMW prefers to focus on the American championship. The car will also be managed by a local private team, Team RLL. But it would be silly for BMW to deprive itself of a return to Le Mans, when the car is already developed and corresponds to European regulations… BMW has not yet not officially ruled out the idea. The big race, later this week, will perhaps be the occasion to know a little more. BMW has not fought for victory in the premier class at Le Mans since the victory of the BMW V12 LMR in 1999.

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