After months of speculations, BMW has allegedly ruled out a LMP1 program for the new-for-2018 LMP1 regulations. German media reported that WEC LMP1 and GTE-Pro programs had been under consideration, but according to BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, the short-term focus remains in GT racing.
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“WEC as a platform for sure is interesting,” Marquardt told Sportscar365. “I’ve been to the Nürburgring [WEC race]. I got an invite from an old colleague and I had a look at it, and it’s definitely a good platform.
“If you look at LMP1 and you see the level of expertise that the competitors there have, it’s really tough right now.
“At the end of the day, hybrid technology is really important, but for us it’s like a stepping stone. Technology-wise, it’s part of what we do in our production cars.
“We have now increased our plug-in hybrids quite substantially in our overall portfolio, but for us something like LMP would have to be a major step in technology to really communicate something in technology.”
Marquardt hinted at the next set of LMP1 regulations – planned for 2021 – which might work better for BMW. Automobile Club de l’Ouest – ACO – proposed the concept of hydrogen fuel cell technology last month, which could join gasoline and diesel as a fuel option in the future in the WEC and at Le Mans. BMW is currently exploring hydrogen fuel cell technology for production cars.
“That is something that we’re happy to discuss with the ACO and the FIA, what that could be in the future,” Marquardt said.
Interim, BMW is eying the WEC and has recently revealed their plans to send the successor of the popular BMW M3 GT4 into action as of the 2018 season: the BMW M4 GT4.