Feast your eyes on BMW’s new Le Mans-ready racer. Dubbed the BMW M Hybrid V8, the Bavarian carmaker’s futuristic LMDh prototype has been built to compete for victory in the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship season. In line with recent trends from the German carmaker and its M Sport division, the hybrid racing car features some of the widest kidney grilles we’ve ever seen on a BMW.
Built in partnership with Italian motorsports firm Dallara, the beating heart of this hybrid motorsport racer is an eight-cylinder engine mated to an electrified hybrid unit with components from Bosch and Williams Advanced Engineering. BMW is yet to confirm any specific performance details, though the official LMDh regulations suggest that the racer will produce around 662bhp, of which the hybrid component will contribute 49bhp, while the car will weigh around 1,030kg.
Rumours suggest that the V8 hybrid unit may have been derived from M Sport’s now-defunct DTM racing programme, and a roadgoing version of this power unit could potentially be the cards.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 pays tribute to M division’s 50th anniversary with a special edition paint job and unique retro-inspired BMW badges. We’ve already seen a host of special releases from BMW and the M division celebrating the occasion, such as the upcoming M3 Touring, the M4 CSL and the M3 and M4 ‘Edition 50 Jahre’, and the M Hybrid V8 looks to be the latest commemoration of the historic M Sport brand.
Performance testing will commence before the car’s competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023, while the M Hybrid V8 may also compete at next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans racing event.
The last time BMW won at Le Mans was back in 1999, when it beat out the competition using the V12 LMR. That car used a naturally-aspirated 5.99-litre V12 capable of putting out 788bhp, and it produced a glorious soundtrack which the M Hybrid V8 will have a tough job living up to. Regardless, we can’t wait to see its spiritual successor in action.