Following its motorsport debut this year in the IMSA GTP class of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, an even bigger challenge awaits the BMW M Hybrid V8. Next year, the endurance race car will take part in the FIA WEC in the newly founded LMDh category. That means it’ll race at Le Mans, a quarter of a century after the V12 LMR’s triumph in the 24-hour endurance race.
To make sure it’s up to the challenge, BMW M Motorsport has been extensively testing the M Hybrid V8 this year. Following a round of evaluations at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the new racing machine traveled to Imola in Italy for another round of intense testing. A new 10-minute video shows the company’s flagship race car at full throttle on the iconic track located in the Emilia-Romagna region.
The soundtrack you’re hearing comes from a twin-turbo V8, but it’s not the 4.4-liter mill found in BMW’s road cars. It’s not actually not related to the new S68 or the older S63 engine since its origins can be traced to DTM. This 4.0-liter engine has around 640 horsepower and 650 Newton-meters (478 pound-feet) of torque but its output is regulated.
Originally, the engine was codenamed P66 and took the shape of a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8. It was used between 2012 and 2016 before being updated to P66/1 for the 2017 and 2018 DTM seasons. BMW M Motorsport then retired the engine, only to bring it back for the M Hybrid V8. It received a pair of turbos for the P66/2 variant that was subsequently tested before a further evolution into the P66/3 race engine. With an 8,200 rpm redline, the eight-cylinder beast running on the Otto cycle sounds positively glorious in this spy video shot at Imola.
It’s worth noting the M Hybrid V8 has already won a race in its inaugural season in IMSA. In June, it ended the six-hour race in Watkins Glen in second place but was ultimately promoted to the top spot after the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 was disqualified following a post-race inspection. Other notable results have included second-place finishes at the Sebring and Long Beach races, along with a third place during the Chevrolet Grand Prix and the IMSA Battle on the Bricks.
Source: 19Bozzy92 / YouTube