BMW has started their testing with their brand new LMDh car, and confirms their return to Le Mans.
The new BMW M Hybrid V8 drove the first meters yesterday at Varano in Italy, near the Dallara factory. BMW has chosen Italian manufacturer Dallara to build the car, which is based on a LMP2 car, but with added hybrid system, it’s own bodywork, and a custom-made BMW engine.
Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde got the honour of racing the first meters in the car, which was a collaboration between BMW M Motorsport, BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Team RMG and Dallara.
The test programme will continue in Europe until September, where it will move to USA for the rest of the year.
The focus in 2023 will be on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the new GTP category. It’s already announced that two cars will be entered by BMW M Team RLL.
BMW released news today, that they are aiming at competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2024. That includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 2024. There is no decision yet, on what outfit is going to run the FIA WEC programme, but there are several interested teams. 2024 will be the 25 year anniversary of the BMW win at Le Mans, where Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini, and Yannick Dalmas took the win, following JJ Lehto, Jörg Müller and Tom Kristensen leading the race until a few hours before the chequered flag, where an antiroll bar failed, and sent the car off heavily in the Porsche Curves.
BMW has previous been part of the FIA WEC in the 2018/19 season with their BMW M8 GTE in the GTE Pro category. An IMSA programme started at the same time, and remains although in reduced form, opposite to the FIA WEC programme, which shut down after just a single season with BMW Team MTEK.
The drivers for 2023 and 2024 haven’t been chosen yet, but it would be strange to leave out De Phillippi and van der Linde, since they are part of the early testing.