As a fan of both BMW and motorsport, it’s easy to get excited about the BMW M Hybrid V8, Bavaria’s latest entry into the Le Mans Prototype class of endurance racing. However, the team at BMW M who was given the task of building the car was only given 18 months, from the blank sheet of paper to a 24-hour race, and that timeframe is proving difficult to handle.
According to Autosport, BMW’s LMDh project leader Maurizio Leschiutta, development of the BMW M Hybrid V8 has been like “rolling a rock up a hill.”
This report comes just a week after previous reports claimed the M Hybrid V8 suffered gearbox failure during testing. Due to such difficulties, BMW is throwing every resource it has at the project.
“We put everybody’s heads together,” said Leschiutta. BMW M pulled everyone from the GT and Formula E programs and said that BMW feels the M Hybrid V8 is “priority one for BMW M Motorsport now.”
However, BMW isn’t the only team feeling the pressure. Cadillac is another brand that’s been putting an LMDh car together for the upcoming season on a tight timeframe. And while Cadillac’s cars have seemingly been suffering fewer issues, its development hasn’t been easy and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to get much easier.
Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM’s racing manager, agreed with Leschiutta about the difficulties of developing a car on such short notice. “We still have a mountain to climb, and Maurizio is right about it feeling like pushing a rock constantly uphill,” she said.
Klauser said that supply chain issues have been troubling, as her team has struggled to find enough quality parts to not only field three race cars but also stockpile backups. Typically, you want several backups; backups for the backups; but that might not happen anytime soon.
The Daytona 24 Hours is just a month away and BMW is going to have to scramble to get the the M Hybrid V8 ready in time. Leschiutta said that just finishing the first race is the main priority right now. Obviously, BMW wants to win but you need to walk before you run and, in this case, probably crawl first.