A little while back, BMW M announced it would be entering in the LMDh (Le Mans/Daytona hybrid) racing program in the IMSA racing series. As part of a video series, called “MBEDDED”, to document BMW M’s entry into LMDh, we get to see the inner workings of it all and how the M Division navigates these new waters.
In this new episode, we get to see BMW M head off to Dallara, the race car manufacturer, as LMDh rules require that BMW teams up with an existing race car manufacturer and isn’t actually allowed to build the car itself. Dallara is located outside Parma, Italy and has been building race car for decades. Out of the four manufacturers BMW could choose from, it was Dallara that seemed like the best fit.
During the meeting, in which they heads of BMW M — including M Division CEO Markus Flasch — went to dinner with the heads of Dallara, they met Giampaolo Dallara, the founder of the company. Interestingly, Giampaolo Dallara was a consultant for Lamborghini during the BMW M1 program, while Lamborghini was still involved, before it went off to Giugiaro. Now, 42 years later, Dallara is once again working with BMW on a new project.
While at dinner, Flasch gave an impassioned speech about why BMW M is entering this field of motorsport. The BMW Group’s current focus is on environmental responsibility and sustainability, not exactly on motorsport. So the larger BMW Group wanted to cut back its motorsport efforts, something that would have seen Flasch forced to let 80-100 employees go, something he didn’t want to do. He also had the guidance of the iconic BMW M Division head Jochen Neerpasch, who told him that customer racing would lose its luster if BMW itself wasn’t invested in it with a factory team.
That caused Flash to present his case to the brass at BMW, to continue factory racing and get into LMDh. His passion must have be evident, as he got the greenlight. However, BMW M needs to make this a success story or it might be the last. Which is why BMW was so careful choosing a partner and why Dallara was the one chosen.