A New BMW Art Car Will Turn Heads In This Year’s 24 Hours of Spa
This week kicked-off with the official Test Days ahead of this year’s 24 Hours of Spa, the world’s most famous race dedicated to GT3-spec racing cars. While a field of 50+ cars is expected to take on the mythical Spa-Francorchamps track in the Ardennes forest, one car, in particular, will stand out among all others, namely Boutsen Ginion Racing’s BMW M6 GT3.
That’s because the team’s otherwise dull black livery with some orange accents has been ditched on this occasion for a rainbow-esque paint job designed by American artist Peter D. Halley. It’s surely a case of love-it-or-hate-it.
Take a Ride Onboard This BMW 320i D2 Superturismo
The BMW 3 Series is now one of the most iconic compact cars out there and much of its fame came from the early generations and their involvement into motorsport. The first-generation E21 model spawned a cool Group 5 race car that replacement the 3.0 CSL, while the second-gen E30 model kickstarted BMW’s successful campaign in touring car racing.
The E30 M3 had a very successful career in this field and the third-gen E36 arrived in 1990 to take it further. If you’re too young to have seen the E36 touring cars in action back in the 1990s, the folks over at TNT Video just released an onboard video with Marco Iacoangeli behind the steering wheel. And it’s a feast for the eyes and ears.
Wallpaper of the Day: 2020 BMW M2 CS Racing
AS BMW Motorsport continues to expand its reach into providing more affordable ways to enter the world of racing, BMW has introduced the 2020 M2 CS Racing. Replacing the M4 GT4 as the entry-level racecar in the lineup, you’ll have to pony up about $105,000 to get one (€95,000) plus tax, of course. Under the hood sits BMW’s S55 2.9-liter inline-six that can be tuned to deliver anywhere between 280 and 365 horsepower depending on the Balance of Performance classification needed. Maximum torque is rated at 405 pound feet (550 Newton-meters) and is transferred to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a mechanical limited-slip differential. This is the same transmission found in the road-going M2 CS, but with different software tuning for quicker and crispier shifts.
Driver aids include ABS and stability control, but they can be disabled if you determine them unnecessary. Delivery of the M2 CS Racing should begin sometime in mid-2020 but it’s already been thoroughly tested at Miramas in France and Portimao in Portugal. With all of this in mind, we thought the M2 CS Racing would make a great wallpaper candidate, so we’ve added a few desktop wallpapers for you to choose from down below.
BMW M8 GTE Looks Good In Rainy Prep for Daytona 24-Hour
Former CART and, more recently, Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi completed his first test aboard BMW’s M8 GTE Le Mans race car at the Miramas circuit in France ahead of the Italian’s debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona in January of next year.
Zanardi is known for his inspiring return to racing after a vicious crash during the 2001 CART race at the Lausitzring, in Germany, in which he lost both of his legs. Since then, the Italian achieved success in the World Touring Car Championship, the Blancpain Sprint Series, and has guest-starred in the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours race and also competed in the DTM earlier this year.
The man who put down "The Pass" on Bryan Herta at Laguna Seca in 1996 has also become a Paralympics hero winning gold on his para cycle in both the 2012 London Paralympic Games and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games as well as capturing numerous victories in World Championship para-cycling events since 2011.
2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car
BMW M GmbH has been the partner of MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports for nearly two decades now, and is recognized as the “Official Car of MotoGP.” That means every time the top-rung motorcycle racing series needs something four-wheeled to help out on tack, Bimmer is there to provide the ride. Now, BMW has revealed a new safety car for the series, pulling the sheets at the 2017 MotorGP finale at Valencia. Based on the brand-new F90-generation M5, which was revealed earlier in 2017 at the gamescom trade fair in Germany, this spiced-up four-door is destined for duty in the 2018 MotoGP series scheduled to kick off March 19th. Rocking the same 4.4-liter V-8 as the road-going variants, this is also the first BMW Safety Car to run the M xDrive AWD drivetrain, and it’s got a good deal of M-branded Performance Parts to go with it. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car.
BMW is Keeping the Trademark Office Busy with new Designations for Future M Models
Any BMW that wears the “CSL” badge is very much sought-after. In fact, some of the earlier versions of CSL-badged Bimmers have turned into prized collectibles. That list includes the 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL, 2004 BMW M3 CSL, and most recently, the BMW M2 CSL. The M2 CSL, in particular, hasn’t even been released yet. Only 1,000 units of the model are expected to be built with orders scheduled to start in January 2018 and deliveries beginning in May 2018. But, even before the M2 CSL arrives, there is major news regarding the badge and what its future is with BMW.
As it turns out, BMW is serious about protecting the CSL designation to the point that it has registered the trademarks for a whole range of CSL models with the World Intellectual Property Organization, beginning with the M1 CSL and extending all the way to the M8 CSL. There is a caveat to the trademarks as only the M2 CSL, M4 CSL, and M8 CSL have been registered internationally whereas all of the trademarks are registered in Germany. It’s anybody’s guess what this could all mean, but we can at least be sure that BMW is going to be using the CSL moniker a lot more now that it has effectively replaced the GTS badge as the company’s go-to, top-of-the-line track machine.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
2018 BMW M8 GTE
The official confirmation that BMW is planning to revive the 8 Series and build the first M8 ever is arguably the best BMW-related news we received this year. And while both cars are still a few months from going public, the German firm offered us a sneak preview by launching the M8-based race car first. Unveiled at the2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, it’s called the M8 GTE and will mark the brand’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after seven years. The new race car will make its debut in early 2018, at the 24 Hours of Daytona.
BMW also confirmed that the M8 GTE will race before the 8 Series goes on sale, so don’t expect the flagship coupe to arrive earlier than January 2018. But the good news is that the race car gives a good look at what the upcoming M8 will bring to the table in terms of design and even performance. Of course, the production model won’t be as aggressive as the GTE-spec vehicle, but many of these styling features will make it on the coupe that you’ll be able to find in dealerships. Let’s have a closer at the M8 GTE and BMW’s upcoming campaign in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE.
BMW’s M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model
The Bavarians are heading back to Circuit de La Sarthe, and they’re bringing a new race car. Say hello to the M8 GTE, which just debuted this week at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Set to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the M8 GTE clearly has its sights set on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That’ll make it the first BMW to run the world-famous endurance event since 2011, following in the footsteps of such machines as the V12 LMR that took outright victory in 1999. The new racer’s first competitive event will be the 24 Hours of Daytona next year, with further races in the North American IMSA series on the docket as well. That’s all well and good, but for those of us chomping at the bit to see the new 8 Series, the M8 GTE offers some tantalizing insights into what to expect.
For those unaware, the upcoming M8 is framed as Bimmer’s end-all-be-all range-topping luxury two-door, a flagship coupe sporting large-and-in-charge dimensions, plenty of power, and high-end interior extravagance. It’s essentially BMW’s answer to competitors like the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe, previewed with the BMW 8 Series Concept Coupe revealed in Italy at the Villa d’Este event earlier this year. However, with the racing version now out and under the lights, we’re taking a closer look to see what we can learn before the 8 Series drops at the Los Angeles Auto Show in a few months’ time.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M8 GTE and upcoming 8 Series.
BMW Confirms FIA Formula E Championship Entry
The Bavarians are once again stepping up for a little wheel-to-wheel racing action, but this time around, internal combustion need not apply. Rather, it’s all about the electricity as BMW prepares a bid in the Formula E Championship. BMW just announced its intentions to make a full-fledged factory effort for Season 5 of the battery-powered sport, partnering with the Andretti Formula E works team for battle in 2018 and 2019. BMW will provide the team with an in-house developed powertrain produced under the banner of the newly created i Motorsport division, BMW’s latest racing skunk works, which will work alongside BMW’s M Division to advance its go-faster know-how. BMW says it’ll use the opportunity to advance its all-electric technology, which will eventually trickle down to street cars like the i3 and i8, as well as future models like the iNext electric crossover.
“The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project,” says Klaus Frohlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. BMW’s timing coincides with recent rule changes that made Formula E participation more appealing to the automaker, including “omission of the car changeover” seen in previous seasons. Meanwhile, the Andretti team provides a natural fit for BMW, given the past collaboration between the two organizations. “I couldn’t pick a more prestigious or historic manufacturer to work with in Formula E,” says Michael Andretti.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 BMW M4 GT4
The BMW M4 came to be in 2013, when the German company unveiled its brand-new performance coupe in concept form. The introduction of the M4 marked the end of the road for the M3 Coupe, with all two-door versions of the 3 Series being moved under the new 4 Series denomination. On top of the new styling and nomenclature, the M4 also gained a new engine. The previous naturally aspirated V-8 was replaced with turbocharged inline-six with enhanced performance and fuel economy. Much like its predecessors, the M4 was also engineered for track use, spawning a successful DTM race car. However, unlike previous M3 Coupes, the M4 never made in other racing series. But things are set to change in 2018, when BMW will unleash a GT4-spec version of the two door coupe to replace the M3 GT4.
The new race car will compete in existing GT4 classes, which are included in various series in Europe, North America, and Asia. The car will be open to customer teams around the world, but will also be used to bring talented young drivers closer to the GT3 class as part of the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. The newly developed GT sports car has already completed its first tests at the end of 2016 and customers will be able to purchase it in 2017, just in time for the start of the 2018 racing season.
Continue reading for our full review.
BMW Announces Return to Le Mans and Endurance Racing
BMW has just revealed plans to expand its presence in the global motorsport scene by joining a new racing series by the end of the decade. The German automaker also confirmed its partnership with Andretti Autosport for Formula E, but more importantly, it said it will built a GT-spec car for the FIA World Endurance and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championships, which means a return to the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
The decision comes seven years after BMW’s withdrawal from Formula One and four years afters its successful return to the DTM. By joining the new series, the German automaker will basically race in every important competition running in Europe and the United States, except Formula One. Munich also stated that it plans to further build on its presence in DTM and Dakar Rally, as well as continue to run its customer racing program in the GT3 and GT4 categories.
As for the new GT car that will mark the company’s first return at Le Mans since 2011, when BMW Motorsport raced the M3 GT2 in the LM-GTE Pro class, the German carmaker said it will arrive just in time for the 2018 season. Details are scant, but chances are BMW isn’t planning to develop a hybrid prototype, but a LM GTE racer that would go against the Ford GT, Ferrari 488 GTE, and Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
"Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing," said BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt.
Continue reading for the full story.
2016 IMSA Northeast Grand Prix - Race Report
Lime Rock Park in Connecticut was again the host of the Northeast Grand Prix which gathered three of the four IMSA Weathertech Sportscar classes within the premises of the 1.4-mile circuit, and saw Corvette Racing reach some incredible milestones. Under scorching heat, the intense traffic made for contact aplenty, with prototypes and GTs scraping on a track that lacks the endless asphalt run-offs of modern “Tilkedromes” – and thank God it does!
The quickest overall lap time of the qualifying session was set by CORE Autosport’s Colin Braun, the No. 54 ORECA lapping Lime Rock in just 48:824 seconds, a slim margin of 0.016 seconds separating Braun’s time from Robert Alon’s best effort, the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport car starting second. Kyle Marcelli was third quickest, a tenth off pole, sharing row two of Saturday’s grid with the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry. Peter Baron’s other car was at the bottom end of the top five, but had high hopes for race day as van der Zande and Popow had won two of the previous three rounds.
BMW’s Dirk Werner battled for pole with Ford’s Richard Westbrook, the latter sneaking through to post the quickest lap time and take the pole. The Briton’s 50:748 was less than a tenth quicker than the best that Werner could do. The second row of the GT-LM grid was in the 50-second bracket as well, with Tommy Milner starting from third alongside Toni Vilander. Dirk Mueller qualified sixth, two tenths back from Magnussen on seventh. Porsche was again at the back of the pack, the two 991 GTEs starting eight and tenth, although this time the gap from first to last was well under a second.
Change Racing’s Spencer Pumpelly stormed to pole thanks to a blistering 53:148, just 0.030 seconds quicker than Andrew Davis who locked a front-row position in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsport Audi. The sister Stevenson Audi was third while Alessandro Balzan was fourth in the championship-leading Scuderia Corsa car.
BMW Teams Up With Andretti To Join Formula E
Nearly two weeks ago it was reported that BMW and Nissan were planning to join the all-electric Formula E series as early as next season, which is scheduled to commence in October 2016. Today it was confirmed that the German automaker is indeed looking to join the series.
The news comes from BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt, who told Motorsport.com that the team is already working alongside an existing Formula E team. Although he wouldn’t say which squad BMW teamed up with, it’s believed that the Bavarian brand is working with the Andretti team. The American squad joined the series from the very beginning and finished the first two seasons in sixth and seventh, respectively. Although it failed to win races, Andretti scored five podiums and several top 10 finishes.
The report adds that Andretti is expected to announce BMW factory driver Antonio Felix da Costa as the team’s new driver. Da Costa will join Robin Frijns, who raced a full season for the American stable last season.
“We are working closely on the engineering side with one of the teams. So, we have a good insight, but we have always made it clear there are a few things that have to really strengthen and develop. I think it is going in the right direction,” said Marquardt.
While BMW won’t have much say as a manufacturer for now, this will change in the future. However, the Germans will be waiting for Formula E to adopt an
style, one-car-per-driver strategy, which is projected to happen starting 2018.
“For sure, the change of car that is still in place is, from our point of view, with regards to the range of electric vehicles is not ideal. But, there is a path to season five to get this into a better solution and we keep monitoring the situation," he added.
The upcoming Formula E season includes 14 venues in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Both Montreal and New York will host two races. The current grid for the 2016/2017 season includes 10 teams. The season is scheduled to begin on October 9, 2016, and will come to a close on July 30, 2017.
Continue reading for the full story.
BMW And Nissan Plan To Enter Formula E
Nissan and BMW are reportedly preparing to join the all-electric Formula E series. According to Autosport, the two manufacturers are in talks with existing teams to join the series as early as next season, which is scheduled to commence on October 9, 2016, in Hong Kong.
Nissan, which axed its LMP1 program in 2015, would need approval from the
Nissan Alliance, which also oversees the Renault e.Dams team. BMW, on the other hand, would have to change its position on the series’ dependence on mid-race car swaps, the main reason it ruled out a Formula E program in the past.
The only certainty right now is that if Nissan or BMW commit to entering Formula E in 2016, neither would be allowed to develop its own drivetrain, meaning a tie-up is their only realistic chance of joining for season three.
If it joins the series, Nissan will become the first Japanese manufacturer to do so. On the other hand, BMW will be the second German maker as the European country is already represented by ABT Audi Sport.
The current grid for the 2016/2017 season includes 10 teams from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, Monaco, and China. The latest brand to join Formula E is Jaguar. Next season’s calendar includes 14 venues in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Both Montreal and New York will host two races. The season is scheduled to begin on October 9, 2016, and come to a close on July 30, 2017.
Continue reading for the full story.
2016 BMW M4 GTS DTM Safety Car
Remember how BMW tested the M4 GTS camouflaged as a MotoGP Safety Car before unveiling it in 2015? Well, it turns out that the Germans were just trying to be sneaky. They were working on an actual pace car based on the limited-edition M4. The safety car in question will be used in the 2016 DTM season and was revealed with only a week ahead of the competitions’ debut at the Hockenheimring on May 7.
The specially equipped M4 GTS will pace the DTM field during the entire 2016 season, which includes nine events in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Russia, and Hungary. The GTS replaces the standard BMW M4 Coupe used in 2014 and 2015. The new safety car will be driven by Jurgen Kastenholz, the official DTM pace car driver since 2010.
"The BMW M4 excels through neutral handling, fantastic response and enormous power delivery starting at low engine speeds for optimum acceleration out of tight corners," said the 48-year old. "The new BMW M4 GTS will be even better. So I will have complete trust in the car from the word go – and this is absolutely essential to be able to lead a pack of 24 DTM racing cars quickly around the circuit during the caution periods."
The M4 GTS will lead a pack consisting of race cars based on the Mercedes-AMG C63, Audi RS5, and BMW M4.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M4 GTS Safety Car.
2016 BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car
It’s not very often that a partnership between and automaker and a race organizer lives and excessively long life, but it does happen. Take a look at the partnership between Dorna Sports – the organizer for MotoGP – and BMW. A deal was signed between the two back in 1999 to have BMW cars and bikes as the official safety and medical vehicles for MotoGP racing. In 2006, BMW’s M division took the role of “Official car of MotoGP,” and since then, BMW M cars have been at each MotoGP event.
Such a long and successful partnership is quite rare, but something tells me that success has something to do with BMW’s heritage and the fact that it puts a lot of time and effort into the safety and medical fleet for the MotoGP. Just take the 2016 BMW M2 MotoGP Safety car that you see in the image above. You might not realize it, but the car is transformed from a basic production car – one that is still wearing some camo at that – and is transformed by hand into the car it is today. The car is designed to be a safety car, but BMW goes a lot farther than that. Essentially, the M2 gets a long list of add-ons that makes it suitable for full-out racing.
So with that said, it’s pretty clear that the M2 MotoGP Safety car is one special Bimmer. Let’s take a look at what goes into making the M2 safety car, and all the equipment that makes it ready for race day.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M2 MotoGP Safety Car.
A bucket of firsts, twice-around-the-clock excitement in three of the four classes and some breakthrough performances are what have already transformed this year’s Rolex Daytona 24hrs into a classic and the perfect way to remember that, precisely half a century ago, Daytona hosted its first 24-hour race.
It was no coincidence, then, that Ford decided to bring their new GT racing car to Daytona for its international debut, although few expected the going to be as rough as it proved to be for the two Ganassi-run GT-LM entries. At the complete other end of the spectrum, with a clean and trouble-free race, Scott Sharp’s Extreme Speed Motorsport has scored a historical first win for an LMP2 car at Daytona – the first win for an ACO prototype since 2002.
It’s also the Ligier’s most important international victory and, arguably, the biggest win in the team’s six-year history. And, all of it would not have been possible without the massive aid of Pipo Derani – the young Brazilian hot-shoe that proved instrumental in the Patron-liveried car crossing the line in P1.
While the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) cars were marred by issues across the board, the most important thing that needs to be put into perspective is the lack of overall pace displayed by these aging cars. The mere fact that the class winner was 20 laps behind the GT-LM Corvettes is one thing, but the fact that the ORECAs were also the slowest of all 54 starters is just as worrying.
Then there’s the GT-Daytona category that’s embraced the GT3 platform for 2016, and the 22-car strong grid proves IMSA right in its choice. Indeed, some pointed a finger toward Lamborghini’s massive top-end speed that is rumored to have been quicker than even the GT-LM cars but, at the end of the day, the Top 7 was comprised of seven different manufacturers. And, at least half of those could have won, given how tight it was at the end.
In a day and age where reliability is part of the status quo, to see two Corvettes battling it out for supremacy bumper-to-bumper after 24 hours of racing may not be that surprising. The fact that veterans Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin were given the green light to goose it out like they did is. Porsche was in close vicinity but the woes that sent out car #911 meant that only #912 was left standing and it was no match at the end for the two C7-Rs. Of the 100% brand-new cars, the Corvettes and Porsches being were new iterations based upon older designs, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 came home fourth and BMW’s IMSA-only M6 GTLM scored fifth.
Continue reading for the full story.
There is some sort of racing for just about everything that has a motor. And while there might be a limited number of governing bodies for riding lawnmower racing, car racing has a dizzying number of organizations, each with its own set of rules. And that means that even though BMW has already built a version of the M6 to conform to the FIA’s GT3 regulations, a new car will have to be built in order to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This is a fairly new Championship, with its inaugural season having just happened in 2014. The Championship is actually just the result of the merging of the American Le Man Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series.
Since the series has its roots in the American Le Mans Series, the “LM” that you see in the name of the car stands for “Le Mans,” and the whole GTLM class is really just a copy of ACO’s GTE class for Le Mans and Le Mans series racing. The M6 GTLM is based heavily on the M6 GT3, but it is not as similar as the old Z4 GT3 was to the Z4 GTLM.
Updated 01/282016: BMW Team RLL today revealed two commemorative 100th anniversary liveries for the new M6 GTLM race cars. The new livery pays tribute to the iconic BMW 3.0 CSL which claimed the first victory at Daytona.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW M6 GTLM.
Months after Nissan competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race for the first time in 16 years, another automaker that has hinted on its own potential comeback might be a reality. BMW is making these waves, so says marketing boss Ian Robertson, who admitted to Autocar that the company’s return to the most iconic endurance race in the world “is on the agenda.”
News of BMW’s plan to return to Le Mans first surfaced back in July 2015. At that time, it was reported that the Bavarians were considering the possibility of using a hydrogen-powered fuel cell race car in 2018. The idea was to enter the race car in time for BMW to launch its own hydrogen-powered, fuel cell production vehicle in 2020.
So far, Robertson has been coy on elaborating details of the so-called “agenda”, opting only to say that the company is treading carefully on the steps it wants to take in the event it gets the nod from BMW execs to push forward. One prospective issue is the class of racing BMW would put its hydrogen race car in. The two likely scenarios would be to either enter it in an established class or in the ‘Garage 56’ category, a non-competitive category reserved mainly for experimental vehicles like the Nissan Deltawing and the ZEOD race cars. Robertson, however, seems to be apprehensive on putting the hydrogen race car in the latter category, saying that the company has to be conscious of recouping the investments it makes in this undertaking. On the flip side, BMW motorsport chief Jens Marquardt has also thrown in his two cents on the matter, lamenting the lack of competitiveness BMW would have if it dove straight into a category with established competitors.
Right now, it does appear that there are more questions than answers surrounding BMW’s plan to return to Le Mans. Even the company itself, at least from the comments made by its executives, doesn’t appear to be as sure as they should be. Either way, this will be talked about extensively in Bavaria before a decision is made.
Continue reading for the full story.
By the time the first-generation M6 made its debut in 1983, BMW had already been racing the 6 Series for three years. The company’s vehicle of choice for the race course was the 635 CSi, which spent more than a decade on the track between 1980 and 1992. The coupe scored 26 overall wins and 7 class victories in more than 600 races that included many endurance events. Although the 6 Series nameplate returned for the 2006 model year with V-8 and V-10 engines, the new coupe didn’t follow in the footsteps of its predecessor and never made it onto the track on official terms. That will change in 2015, when BMW rolls out a GT3-spec version of the 2016 BMW M6 for GT Endurance and Sprint racing.
Based on the road-going model but equipped with an aerodynamic body kit and race-bred internals, the M6 GT3 comes in to replace the venerable 2010 BMW Z4 GT3. The latter has been serving BMW factory teams and privateers with great success since 2010, but Munich is ready to add a new chapter to its motorsport saga. Already shown to BMW Motorsport teams in Europe and the U.S., the M6 GT3 has made its public debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show wearing the brand’s iconic purple, blue, and red livery.
Updated 09/15/2015: The new BMW M6 GT3 made its world debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 BMW M6 GT3.
As the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans kicks off this weekend, BMW is reportedly planning a return to the world’s most prestigious endurance event with a new race car that would run exclusively on hydrogen fuel.
The speculation stems from a recent post made by the British publication Autocar, which states that while the project is still under consideration, it is in the advanced stages of evaluation and comes with tentative support from top Bimmer brass.
The post comes on the heels of conflicting statements made by BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt, who recently told Autosport.com that it was unlikely the automaker would join the ranks of the top rung in endurance racing competition, saying: “LMP1 is, at the moment, the big hybrid thing, and in there we wouldn’t be the leader. We wouldn’t even be the fast follower, we would be a slow follower now, as the fifth [after Audi, Toyota, Porsche and Nissan] manufacturer joining in. With our targets, I don’t see this really being something that we think about in a way that we are working on anything in that respect as a program.”
However, this downplay does not exempt the possible hydrogen racer from entering the catchall “Garage 56” category at Le Mans, which is a non-competitive class specifically designed for experimental vehicles. Previous Garage 56 entries include the 2012 Deltawing and 2014 Nissan ZEOD RC.
With a likely unveiling in 2018, the proposed hydrogen racer would build visibility and credibility for BMW’s hydrogen technology ahead of the launch of a new fuel-cell passenger vehicle. While details are sketchy, it’s believed BMW plans to release the new FCV sometime in 2020.
Continue reading for the full story.
2015 is a special year for BMW of North America, which celebrates 40 years since it began operating in the U.S. Additionally, March 2015 marks four decades since BMW Motorsport scored its first victory on U.S. soil, at the 1975 12 Hours of Sebring. To celebrate these key milestones in the company’s history in the U.S., BMW announced it will join this weekend’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance with a series of events and historic vehicles, as well as special racing livery for the Z4 GTLM race car.
Arguably the main star of BMW’s anniversary party at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, the special Z4 GTLM will break cover wearing a livery inspired by the 3.0 CSL race cars of the mid-1970s. Even though the teaser only shows a covered Z4 between two classic racers, it’s safe to assume the livery will mirror the paint schemes of the 3.0 CSLs flanking it, meaning a white body with the traditional blue-purple-red stripes of the company’s M division. 1975 12 Hours of Sebring winners Brian Redman, Sam Posey, and Hans Stuck will be on hand for the unveiling of the car that will then travel to Sebring for this year’s 12 Hours endurance race.
Continue reading to learn more about BMW’s future 40th anniversary Z4 racer.