René Rast: Following a 3rd Le Mans win

René Rast: Following a 3rd Le Mans win

V8 engine, displacement of four liters, two turbos and an electric motor. These are the ingredients that bmw M Hybrid V8 will start as early as 2023 in the American IMSA series and from 2024 also in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – against up to ten other manufacturers (ToyotaGlickenhaus, peugeotVanwall, Ferrari, Porsche, CadillacAcura, Lamborghini, Alpine)

Important data seems like a big increase – and yet the goal of this project is sustainability. This is shown by the 680 hp engine: BMW has decided not to develop a new engine, instead replacing the old P66 engine from the DTM (until 2018).

To do so, the naturally aspirated V8 first had to be converted into a V8 biturbo concept and then mated to the 68 hp standard Bosch electric motor that is mandatory in the LMDh class.

A hard voice. But although BMW also has turbo engines in its range, this step was important. Engine boss Ulrich Schulz says: “The bottom line with the P63 engine from the BMW M8 GTE (2019 BMW Le Mans final race car, editor’s note) is the maximum weight.” And he has another example of sustainability in this project already: ” We can even use components and materials from our System 1 day – like steel and aluminum.”

Sustainability is the focus of the BMW M Hybrid V8.

The decision to favor the LMDh concept also underlines BMW’s approach. Although the so-called hypercars have to be created from scratch, the cheaper LMDh principles are based on LMP2 prototypes, which can be modified according to certain specifications. To this end, BMW works closely with the Italian manufacturer Dallara.

Oreca LMP2 are the dominant cars in the class. But when it comes to customizing these cars to the needs of the manufacturer, Dallara is more successful with the Daytona models in IMSA.

The Bavarians bring experienced squads as action teams – Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s IndyCar team for IMSA, Belgium’s WRT team for the World Sportscar Championship and Le Mans.

WRT was supposed to be Audi’s works team, and has even been active in LMP2 for two years. Team owner Vincent Vosse: “I still remember BMW’s last victory in 1999, because at that time I was driving my Porsche GT2 in the neighboring pits. We will strive to repeat those times.”

The driver pool includes defending DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde (23), IndyCar star Colton Herta (22) and Philipp Eng (32) from Austria. The name René Rast also comes to mind. The BMW newcomer (36) drove for WRT in LMP2 in 2022 and also has experience with Audi from the top class. “I’ve already driven the LMDh from BMW – and that’s really fun,” reveals Rast.

With these links BMW wants to get the third overall victory after 1995 and 1999.

BMW M Hybrid V8

• Engine V8, biturbo
• Displacement 3999 cm3
• Bosch electric engine, 68 hp
• System output 500 kW (680 hp) at 8200 rpm
• Maximum torque 650 Nm
• Rear wheel drive
• Xtrac Transmission
• Williams battery
• Recovery 200 kW