BMW teases its Le Mans contender for 2023
In the latest round of BMW’s re-imagining of its classic kidney grille design, the Munich manufacturer has released a teaser image of its forthcoming LMDh prototype, which will return the famous firm to Le Mans in 2023.
BMW hasn’t competed at the top level of international sports car racing since it last conquered La Sarthe with its V12 LMR prototype back in 1999. However, the advent of the new LMDh rules, which will allow sports prototypes to compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship/ Le Mans 24 Hours and IMSA in America, has proven effective at luring many big brands back into the sport.
BMW will focus much of its 2023 campaign in North America with two cars being run by the BMW Team RLL squad in IMSA, but a Le Mans 24 Hours entry will still be the centrepiece of its top-flight return. Although it’ll face stiff opposition with Audi, Acura, Cadillac, Ferrari, Toyota and Peugeot all due to be represented on the Le Mans grid from 2023 – with Alpine following suit with its own full LMDh project in 2024.
BMW’s teaser doesn’t show off too much detail of the as-yet-unnamed racer – aside from those gigantic grilles, which actually manage to make the ones on the new 4 Series look tame – however we can make out the contours of the huge front splitter (bedecked in M Sport colours), some interesting bonnet contours, the extremely slight headlights (rally-style lamp pods for Le Mans, anyone?) and the distant view of a huge rear wing.
We do know BMW’s chassis will be produced by Italian powerhouse Dallara and by regulation it will feature a hybrid petrol -electric powertrain.
LMDh rules say the internal combustion engine should produce around 630bhp, with the Bosch-supplied hybrid motors contributing up to a further 67bhp. Total power output must not exceed 670bhp for either Le Mans Hypercars or LMDh machinery to keep things equal between the two car types.
In total, the package must fit within a cost cap of £840,000 (minus engine) and BMW will begin building the first cars alongside Dallara in Italy. The firm hopes to have its first test car running next year.