Last year, BMW announced its entry into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as part of the LMDh prototype car class. It was exciting news, as the brand was finally getting back into an experimental motorsport and it promised a hybrid powertrain that could help the development of future road cars. Though, BMW kept the actual LMDh prototype car a secret. Until now, that is. Welcome the BMW M Hybrid V8.

Powered by a V8 Hybrid

Admittedly, it’s pretty awesome to see a proper LMDh prototype car with a BMW livery, BMW Roundels, and even a flipping kidney grille. And, for all you gaping-grille-lovers, the giant grille lives on! Okay, so it’s not really a grille on the M Hybrid V8, and seems to be more for aerodynamics, which does make it acceptable. There’s real function there and you can see that BMW just used that necessary function to make the grille. That’s big grillin’ I can get behind.

It’s a really good looking car, too. The M-colored camouflage livery looks awesome and it wears “50 Jahre” badges, which is a nice nod to the awesome Jahre road cars of the past. What’s cool about it is that, despite being a completely unique prototype race car that looks nothing like any road car, it’s instantly recognizable as a BMW.

“The most critical task and the greatest challenge for the design team in the LMDh program design team was that the prototype must be clearly recognizable as a BMW M Motorsport car. And I can say this to all the fans, just one look is enough to confirm that the BMW M Hybrid V8 is a BMW. It clearly carries the genes of BMW M. I also love the camouflage livery with its references to the great history of the brand in North America. Congratulations to the design and aerodynamics departments at BMW M Motorsport and Dallara on their great work. I can hardly wait to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 on the track soon.” said BMW M CEO Frank van Meel.

What does this mean for BMW outside of motorsport. Hybrid and battery technology will be pushed and developed with this new LMDh car in ways BMW simply can’t for road car tech. The fewer regulations, the competitive drive of motorsport, and the greater funds to invest into a singular project all meant that BMW will learn more about hybrid and battery tech from this LMDh car than any road car project. So not only is it a cool race car, one that BMW hopes will be incredibly successful, but it will also help to shape the future of BMW.