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.
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
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.