Last month, rumors began to swirl about BMW potentially eyeing an entry back into Le Mans, racing in a new prototype hybrid hypercar class, LMDh. Now, though, it’s confirmed — BMW will be entering into the LMDh class with an all-new hybrid prototype endurace racer for the 2023 season.
BMW’s entry will add another German rival to both Audi and Porsche, who’ve already announced their entry into LMDh. Other automakers that have officially announced their participation are Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari, so it’s already a hotly contested class.
There was some initial speculation on what sort of prototype racer BMW would use and if it would be powered by either a hybrid or a hydrogen powertrain. However, we’ve received confirmation that it will be a hybrid, just like Porsche and Audi.
The first race of the 2023 season for BMW will be in Daytona, featuring this all-new car, but it’s going to be Le Mans where BMW will want to regain some old glory. BMW’s sole win at Le Mans came in 1999, with the iconic V12 LMR taking the victory. Since then, both of BMW’s rivals, Porsche and Audi, have had tremendous success at Le Mans, especially Audi in the prototype class. So it’s no surprise that BMW wants to jump back in with some new hybrid tech and try to regain some endurance racing-glory.
This new entry back into Le Mans will also help BMW’s road cars. Hybrid and electrification are the future of the automobile and nothing breeds automotive technological advancement like motorsport. All of the technical knowledge gleaned from the development of BMW’s LMDh car will eventually be applied to its road cars, making its hybrid tech better for the road.
We’re genuinely curious to see what sort of car is developed for this, as it’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a BMW race car that wasn’t based on an existing road car. It will be truly special to see a BMW prototype race car yet again.