After 24 intense hours at Le Mans, BMW Motorsport’s return to the premier class of endurance motorsport was marked by high hopes and significant challenges. Despite a promising start, including the best time during Wednesday’s practice sessions, BMW’s race took a downturn due to a series of incidents.

The early promise shown by BMW Motorsport was quickly overshadowed by unfortunate events. Accidents involving both driver errors and aggressive maneuvers by competitors led to the team’s LMDh cars falling out of contention before midnight. This left BMW’s chances of securing a strong finish in the premier class effectively over. The #20 BMW Art Car only ran 92 laps before it crashed. It returned later on the track, with 30 minutes to go, for a photoshoot session and to wave goodbye.

Second Place For The BMW M4 GT3

Photo: BMW Motorsport

As a consolation, the BMW M4 GT3s showed strong pace. However, further complications arose. The M4 with starting #46, driven by Valentino Rossi, had established itself as a favorite to win the LMGT3 class. Unfortunately, an accident involving Ahmad Al Harthy ended their hopes prematurely. This left the remaining BMW M4 GT3, starting number 31, in the spotlight. Augusto Farfus, Sean Gelael, and Darren Leung mounted an impressive charge, working their way up the field.

In the final hours, the BMW M4 GT3 was on course for a podium finish and fought a close battle for victory. The Porsche 911 GT3 R from Manthey EMA ultimately claimed the top spot, with Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, and Richard Lietz securing the first-ever LMGT3 class victory. The No. 91 Porsche finished a lap ahead of the No. 31 BMW M4 GT3, which was shared by Darren Leung, Sean Gelael, and Augusto Farfus.

Ferrari Wins Again

In the Hypercar class, Ferrari AF Corse celebrated back-to-back victories with the 499P. The highly competitive and rain-impacted race saw more than a quarter of the time run behind the safety car and a record nine cars finishing on the lead lap. Nicklas Nielsen overcame a scare with the right-side door of his No. 50 AF Corse-run Ferrari 499P to secure a 14.221-second win over the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez. Overall, the Hypercar class saw Ferrari AF Corse take first place, followed by Toyota, another Ferrari, and the first Porsche in fourth.

BMW made its debut at Le Mans this year with the new M Hybrid V8, marking only the second year of the car’s participation in both IMSA and WEC. Despite high expectations, winning on the first attempt is undeniably a formidable challenge. We look forward to seeing the team and program regroup and return to conquer the iconic Sarthe circuit in 2025.