BMW to race in WEC, Formula E, but Formula 1 remains a dream

Racing | July 26th, 2016 by 9
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The news hit last Friday like a bomb – BMW plans to return to Le Mans and thus the entry into the World Endurance Championship …

The news hit last Friday like a bomb – BMW plans to return to Le Mans and thus the entry into the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The company is already looking ahead to its next factory GT challenger which is set to be built to full GTE regulations and could take on the FIA World Endurance Championship by as soon as 2018.

“The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is an interesting format,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Chief Development Officer of BMW AG. “We are a dynamic company and watch the motorsport world very closely. In the next iteration of the evaluation process of motorsport strategy that will certainly play a role,” said Fröhlich. However, the return to Le Mans won’t include an iconic LMP1 car, but rather a new M model in the LM GTE Pro category.

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Insiders expect that the new GT sports car with innovative technology will be presented by Munich at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Last time BMW Motorsport was represented by a BMW M3 GT2 in the Le Mans was in 2010 and 2011.

Formula E yes, no Formula 1

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In addition to the WEC entry, BMW is eyeing an entry in the Formula E championship. “This is a very interesting series with great potential and a different target group,” added Fröhlich. “For us, it is however provided that you can run with a car from start to finish.”

This view had already been shared by BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and thereby precisely excluding a Formula 1 return. BMW hasn’t been in the Formula One game since 2009, and it doesn’t look like there will be a return in the near future.

[Source: AMS]

9 responses to “BMW to race in WEC, Formula E, but Formula 1 remains a dream”

  1. Matt Stokes says:

    Good, Formula 1 is rubbish, and not even the return of my favourite marque would make me want to watch it.

  2. CDspeed says:

    I’m glad they’re getting into something new with Formula E, and I can’t wait to see them in WEC Le Mans is my number one must see race each year. I streamed it on my iPad from start to finish this year, and last.

  3. Kaisuke971 says:

    WEC is more entertaining than F1 anyway. And like the other guys said, Le Mans is basically THE event of the year for motorsport.

    • Matt Stokes says:

      If they are in the GTE category it’s not that far removed from a GT3 race for them, and in terms of 24 hour GT racing, both the Nürburgring 24 and the Spa 24 are better IMHO. I’m glad to see them at La Sarthe, but for me it’s certainly not the event of the year.

      • Kaisuke971 says:

        GTE and GT3 are less close than they look, endurance racing is a world of its own. In terms of overall publicity, hype, and media covering NH24 and Spa 12/24 aren’t even close to LeMans. In fact the only thing that seems to make Endurance racing, and ALMS, relevant, is the circuit de la Sarthe.

        • Max says:

          Unfortunately you’re right. Le Mans gets more hype than the much better 24H Nüburgring, the LMP1/2 cars are great stuff, but the track itself is just boring compared to the Nordschleife and its up to 180 cars…
          I wouldnt mind seeing BMW compete in a GTE, but Formula E makes more sense to me at the moment – even better if they do both! :D

        • Matt Stokes says:

          Sadly you are right, I should have tagged a “for me” on to the end of my post. The three key differences for me, are 1/ the track… it is simply dull compared to the ‘Ring and Spa. 2/ The fact that they will only be challenging for a class win, it’s the LMP’s that get the spotlight. And 3/ As a spectator event the LM24 has nothing on the N24, and in many respects is outclassed by Spa also. I attended all 3 last year and LM really did not get anywhere near my expectations – even though it is the one that, as you point out, gets the most attention.

  4. Me says:

    I’ve always wondered why (or maybe when) Formula E would allow for battery pack swapping instead of changing cars. My thought:

    1. Change/add rule for minimum weight
    2. Maybe add rule for minimum and maximum total battery pack capacity
    3. Maybe add rule for minimum and maximum total battery dimensions and weight
    4. Leave it up to the designers and race teams to decide how much energy to carry vs weight vs pit stops for battery swaps. Treat the batteries like refueling.

    • Matt Stokes says:

      Mandatory pitstops help to prevent the over-taking just being done in the pitlane. If it’s the same for everyone then it means more of the over-taking has to be done by racing on the track, not by strategy. They need to get the balance between racing and technical development right.

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