We’re in a rather curious situation right now with the 8-series. We’ve only seen the concept, and yet here we have the M8 GTE - the racing version of the production car. Not only that, but the racing version of the production car’s hot M Division derivative, which we probably won’t be seeing until even later than the boggo 8er.
The reason for the mixed up ordering? It’s all to do with BMW’s assault on the World Endurance Championship, which will kick off next year, incorporating the firm’s first factory entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2011.
Nestling in that mean-looking front-end is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Its displacement is limited by the regulations, although the block and cylinder head are “taken from the production engine.” It’s good for a base output of 493bhp, and is hooked up to a six-speed sequential racing gearbox.
Thanks to the stripping away of all luxuries and the extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic in the car’s construction, it tips the scales at just 1220kg. We’re guessing the production car will be a fair bit porkier than that…
It has the usual conspicuous because racecar aerodynamic accoutrements including a giant rear wing, a meaty rear diffuser and a hefty front splitter, but what’s interesting is how the aero side of things was developed. BMW says it used a “new algorithm” to substantially increase its CFD (computer fluid dynamics) calculations, allowing them to run far more simulations before heading to the wind tunnel. This allowed them to develop - among other things - the car’s “innovative aero rims,” although BMW is yet to say how these actually work.
Want to see it in action? The car’s competition debut will be the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona next January as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which the M8 will be contesting in addition to WEC.