BMW will make a return to the Le Mans 24 Hours and top-level sports car racing in the new LMDh prototype class in 2023.
The Munich took victory at Le Mans with the V12 LMR prototype in 1999, and has been contemplating a return. The move was confirmed by BMW M boss Markus Flasch with a post on Instagram showing an image of that car captioned ‘We are back, Daytona 2023.’ No further details of the project have been given.
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The confirmation BMW’s first race will be Daytona in 2023 suggests that it will build a car for the new LMDh class, which is loosely based on LMP2 machinery. Under those rules manufacturers must pick one of four control chassis and use a spec rear-axle hybrid system, although they can fit their own bodywork styling elements and rear-drive powertrain. Output is capped at 670bhp.
Porsche, Audi and Acura have all confirmed they will enter the LMDh class, which will be eligible for both the American IMSA Championship that includes the Daytona 24 Hours and the World Endurance Championship. That latter championship includes Le Mans and also features cars in the Le Mans Hypercar class, including Toyota, Peugeot and Ferrari.
BMW did not specify if it would run dual programmes in IMSA and the WEC, or offer its cars to privateers.
BMW has been considering future motorsport projects after confirming that it would withdraw from the Formula E Championship at the end of this season.