It’s been a quarter of a century since the V12 LMR crossed the finish line first at Le Mans. Ahead of next week’s race, BMW M Motorsport brought the triumphant to the Circuit de la Sarthe. No, the endurance car isn’t coming back from retirement. Its spiritual successor, the M Hybrid V8, will start at the 92nd edition of the iconic 24-hour race.

In the meantime, the two have shared the track for a photoshoot. The #15 V12 LMR was driven to victory in 1999 by Joachim Winkelhock, Pierluigi Martini, and Yannick Dalmas. The M Hybrid V8 also carries the #15 and will be piloted by Raffaele Marciello, Dries Vanthoor, and Marco Wittmann. The other electrified racer will be the #20 M Hybrid V8 Art Car designed by Julie Mehretu. Robin Frijns, René Rast, and Sheldon van der Linde will take turns behind the wheel.

Aside from the M Hybrid V8s competing in the Hypercar class, Team WRT will also field a pair of M4 GT3s. The #31 race car will be driven by Augusto Farfus, Sean Gelael, and Darren Leung while Maxime Martin, Valentino Rossi, and Ahmad Al Harthy will race in the #46 car. Both will do battle in the LMGT3 class.

During the Le Mans weekend (June 15-16), BMW will publicly display the V12 LMR as well as the 1975 3.0 CSL Art Car penned by Alexander Calder. Attendees will therefore have the opportunity to see the first and the latest official BMW Art Cars.

It’s worth noting BMW’s first Le Mans success dates back to 1939. Some 85 years ago, a 328 Touring won its class and ended the race fifth in the overall standings. The V12 LMR wasn’t the only race car with a BMW engine to win the endurance race as the McLaren F1 GTR with the S70/2 crossed the finish line first in 1995.

Source: BMW