BMW will return to top-level endurance racing in 2023 with LMDh prototype

BMW could be back at Le Mans in the top category for the first time in 23 years if it runs its proposed LMDh prototype alongside a Daytona programme

BMW Le Mans

BMW could be back at Le Mans in the top category in 2023

James Moy Photography/Getty Images

BMW has become the latest major manufacturer to announce an LMDh programme for 2023, potentially opening the door for a return to Le Mans, which celebrates its 100th race that year.

An Instagram post by BMW M CEO Markus Flasch on Thursday indicated that BMW was set to announce its return to the pinnacle of endurance racing before it was followed up with official confirmation, fuelling excitement that the brand could return to Le Mans should it combine Le Mans with Daytona.

LMDh prototypes are eligable for entry to both the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours, part of the IMSA and World Endurance Championship seasons respectively.

The marque last won the Le Mans 24 Hours back in 1999 with its V12 LMR prototype. If the return does materialise, BMW will join the likes of Acura, Audi and Porsche in building its own Daytona prototype for the ’23 season to compete at both Daytona and Le Mans under the new regulations.

Related Article

LMDh latest: Entries, rules and specs for the new sports car category

Toyota, Ferrari and Peugot have already confirmed their intentions to run a prototype at Le Mans, with the hypercar rules allowing entries to run dual programmes in both the IMSA and WEC series’.

The Daytona Prototype that BMW is set to enter would be based on current LMP2 machinery with teams picking between four chassis options made by one of the specified manufacturers: Dallara, Oreca, Ligier and Multimatic.

Power for LMDh powertrains will be limited to produce a maximum of 500kW or 671bhp and run a rear-axle hybrid system produced by Williams Advanced Engineering.

Bodywork can be styled giving manufacturers the freedom to reflect their road-going vehicles in terms of aesthetics in their prototype designs. Aerodynamic performance is limited with a 4:1 downforce to drag ratio.