One day after BMW M boss Markus Flasch took to Instagram to announce the brand’s long-anticipated return to prototype racing, more insights have been provided for the LMDh program set to debut with IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023.
“BMW is back on the big motorsport stage,” Flasch said. “In entering the LMDh class, BMW M Motorsport is fulfilling the prerequisites to challenge for overall victory at the most iconic endurance races in the world from 2023. We will be fully focused on tackling this challenge. There is a spirit of optimism here. BMW has a successful history in prototype racing – the Le Mans victory in 1999 (pictured) was unforgettable.
“Reviving this story in a modern prototype with M Power will thrill fans of BMW M Motorsport. The LMDh concept guarantees maximum cost control and offers a wide range of possible applications, including the IMSA series in North America, an extremely important market for BMW M. We are all eager to get stuck into the LMDh category with a compact and highly-efficient team set-up.”
RACER understands BMW is likely to partner with chassis supplier Dallara for its new LMDh factory effort that will compete in North America. Its choice of engine to go with the spec 40hp KERS system is among the more interesting aspects to solidify in the coming months, and while no team has been confirmed, it’s believed BMW Formula E partner Andretti Autosport and longstanding IMSA partner Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing are leading candidates to field the program.
“The regulations for LMDh cars stipulate that they have both a combustion engine and an electric motor,” BMW said. “While each manufacturer may develop their own combustion engine, the electric motor and battery, as well as the transmission, are standard parts. The chassis is also built by an external partner. A BMW M Motorsport works involvement, with two cars, is planned from the 2023 IMSA season. The works team and the driver line-up for the two LMDh prototypes will be announced at a later date.”
BMW brings the manufacturer total to four so far in LMDh, and by the time the formula replaces DPi in 2023, at least six brands are expected to usher in IMSA’s first hybrid category.
“Everyone in our motorsport team shares the same motivation: we want to test ourselves against our strongest opposition at the racetrack – and to celebrate victories for BMW,” said BMW M Motorsport leader Mike Krack.
“As such, the LMDh project is a real affair of the heart for us and exactly the new challenge we were hoping for. An extremely exciting project awaits us. To challenge for overall victories in Daytona and Sebring is a massive motivation. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the anticipation is immense.”