In an interview with German media, BMW Motorsport boss Mike Krack confirmed that the new BMW LMDh project will apparently not start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. Instead, the focus is entirely on North America races such as Daytona, after all, the U.S. market is much more important for the BMW M than Europe. Krack explains that the new team is not able to fully focus on all races, at least initially.
Following an announcement made in June about returning to Le Mans for the 2023 racing season, BMW M Motorsport provided last month the first look at its all-new LMDh contender. The new racing car will have some stiff competition seeing as how Porsche, Audi, Acura, Cadillac, Ferrari, Toyota, and Peugeot are all going to compete, with Alpine to follow in 2024. The debut is scheduled or January 2023 at the iconic 24 hours of Daytona.
Two prototypes will be fielded by BMW Team RLL, with the backbone of the race cars being a chassis developed by partner Dallara. As the name of the new competition suggests, the Le Mans Daytona hybrid prototypes will feature an electrified powertrain by combining a gasoline engine with an electric motor. The combustion engine will deliver a minimum of 470 kilowatts (630 horsepower) while the Bosch-supplied hybrid setup will be capped at 50 kilowatts (67 hp). Combined, the total hybrid system will not deliver more than 500 kW (670 hp).
The battery pack will be provided by Williams Advanced Engineering while the transmission is going to be built by Xtrac for prototypes that will have to weigh at least 1,030 kilograms (2,271 pounds). The LMDh race cars will be imposingly long, stretching at up to 5,100 millimeters (201 inches) long and a maximum width of 2,000 millimeters (78.7 inches), with a fixed wheelbase of 3,150 millimeters (124 inches).
Per the regulations for LMDh prototypes, there will be a cost cap of €1,000,000 excluding the engine. BMW will build the first test car in Italy in cooperation with engineers from Dallara, with the goal being to hit the track in 2022 at the Varano track in Parma.
It remains to be seen whether the new BMW LMDh program will travel to Sarthe in 2024, but we’re all hopeful to see the iconic racing championship starting with a BMW on the grid.