Tuesday saw 2 big announcements from BMW Motorsports. The first was their announced return to Le Mans in 2018. The German brand announced Tuesday that they will be a replacement for their M6 GT LM. The M6 GT LM is a modified version of their M6 GT3 car. The other teams in IMSA gave special permission to allow the a modified M6 GT3 to race under the GTLM Rules. However the M6 is not eligible for the WEC or Le Mans. BMW aims to change that with new car, built specifically for GTE rules and aims to return to Le Mans for the first time since 2011.
BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt confirmed the news, saying. “Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the WEC, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing. Motivation behind our further expansion in the customer racing sector. Our range is already spearheaded by a successful representative in the form of the BMW M6 GT3. As of 2018, we will also be excellently represented by the BMW M4 GT4 in the GT4 class, which is currently experiencing something of a boom.”
Not one to sit on their laurels BMW also announced a technical partnership with the Andretti Formula E team. BMW has expressed interest in joining the all-electric open wheel series in the past. The German marque will partner with Andretti in an attempt to familiarize themselves with the series. If all goes well BMW could offer their own power units as soon as 2018. Audi has developed a similar partnership with Team ABT Schaeffler. Formula E is picking up a lot of momentum lately, Jaguar has already announced they will be on the grid with their very own Formula E car to go up against the existing Renault’s. Volvo is believed to be strongly considering an entry. If everything goes well Formula E could see no fewer than 5 manufacturers on the grid in 2018.
Marquardt is bullish on Formula E, and BMW’s involvement. “forge new paths and demonstrate our expertise in the field of electric mobility. A works involvement is then conceivable as of the series’ fifth season. The premise for all these steps is the further positive development of the series, which includes increasing the capacity of the batteries, for example.”
There have also been the faintest quiet whispers and rumors centered on a possible BMW Le Mans Garage 56 entry. It doesn’t take a huge leap to combine this news infer that some kind of hybrid prototype MIGHT be in BMW’s future. Either way, it has to be an exciting time to work at BMW.