BMW has publicly revealed its new LMDh prototype participating in next year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. The German manufacturer, is one of three manufacturers preparing to begin testing the purpose-built racer ahead of the LMDh, or the actual GTP class debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in January. The BMW M Hybrid V8 will be fielded for the 2023 season by Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan, a familiar duo in the IMSA paddock.
As its name implies, The BMW M Hybrid V8 will be powered by a BMW V8 engine, paired with the category’s mandated spec hybrid system. The automaker hasn’t yet revealed where it derived its LMDh engine, but delved deep into the car’s design.
Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M, stated, “The most critical task and the greatest challenge for the design team in the LMDh programme design team was that the prototype must be clearly recognisable as a BMW M Motorsport car.” The BMW M Hybrid V8 is undeniably a BMW, with the German marque aiming to accurately reflect its current road-going performance cars. The kidney grille’s incorporation as a pair of aerodynamic inlets is distinctive, without being distracting like on BMW’s production models. Another touch is BMW’s M hook taillights.
While the bodywork represents BMW’s present, the test livery for the BMW M Hybrid evokes the manufacturer’s racing history in North America. The camouflage mosaic was created using images of six iconic BMWs that raced in the 24 Hours of Daytona: the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1981 BMW M1/C, the 1978 BMW 320i Turbo, the 1986 BMW GTP, the BMW M3 E36 GTS-2, the BMW Z4 GTLM and the BMW M8 GTE. It’s a unique method of disguising the prototype in a distorted version of the traditional white livery accented in M colors.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 will be a welcome sight at IMSA events but will face stiff competition from the other debuting prototypes of Porsche, Cadillac and Acura in the GTP class, as well as Lamborghini in 2024.