Ahead of the testing phase for the LMDh prototype in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in America next year, BMW M Motorsport is announcing the name and showing the racing car’s design, albeit with livery that serves as camouflage. To be called the BMW M Hybrid V8, its look has been designed by BMW Group Designworks and is clearly recognizable as a BMW M car.
Recognisable as a BMW M Motorsport car
This message is echoed by Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH who explained that 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.
“I can say this to all the fans: just one look is enough to confirm that the BMW M Hybrid V8 is a BMW. It clearly carries the genes of BMW M. I also love the camouflage livery with its references to the great history of the brand in North America. Congratulations to the design and aerodynamics departments at BMW M Motorsport and Dallara on their great work. I can hardly wait to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 on the track soon,” said van Meel.
The hallmark of the design is the wide kidney element. In addition, it boasts typical BMW M design elements such as the nested 50th anniversary logo on the bonnet, twin BMW icon lights, dynamic body side, Hofmeister kink window graphic, M ‘hook’ mirrors and the tail-lights.
Historic racing machines on the camouflage
Look closely and you will see that the camouflage livery contains many elements from 5 decades of motor racing history in North America. The images of iconic BMW machines – the 1976 3.0 CSL, the 1981 M1/C, the 1978 320i Turbo, the 1986 GTP, the M3 E36 GTS-2, the Z4 GTLM and the M8 GTE – create a graphic mosaic which obscures the shape of the BMW M Hybrid V8 so rivals can’t determine the exact form.
“My team’s job was to make the BMW M Hybrid V8 look like a BMW, and embrace every opportunity to make it also perform like one on the racetrack,” said BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director Michael Scully. “The design is rooted in BMW’s DNA of purposeful, efficient performance, and the exterior’s bold, determined character invokes BMW’s frontiersmanship of turbo power, now united with an optimized hybrid electric powertrain. The camouflage livery celebrates the 50 Years of M by commemorating the great cars of BMW’s storied history in IMSA racing while uniquely cloaking the BMW M Hybrid V8’s future-facing exterior geometry and technologies during the critical on-track development phase of the project.”
“We’ll follow-up this camouflage with a works livery that exemplifies the dynamism and excitement of hybrid electric-powered competition,” he added.
What is LMDh?
LMDh stands for Le Mans Daytona Hybrid which is a category in the new Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Regulations specify that LMDh race cars have a combustion engine and an electric motor. While each manufacturer can use their own combustion engine, the electric motor, battery and transmission are standard parts. The chassis is also built by an external partner.
The new racing car will compete in the new GTP class of the IMSA series, at such prestigious classics as the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the iconic Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. BMW M Motorsport is working closely with the legendary Italian race car specialist Dallara on development of the BMW M Hybrid V8.
It’s basically a prototype racing car and BMW M Motorsport is returning to international prototype racing with the BMW M Hybrid V8. The last big victory for a BMW prototype came back in 1999, when the BMW V12 LMR won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That car had also triumphed in the 12 Hours of Sebring in the same season.