• BMW’s New LMDh Prototype For The 2023 Season Looks Very M-Like

Testing should begin in the next few weeks!

BMW is the latest automaker to offer us the first look on its future LMDh race car. While some of its design elements are still hidden, we can make a pretty good idea on what to expect in 2023. The prototype wears a special livery built as a celebration of BMW M’s 50th anniversary which will be used during its entire testing season. An official debut should happen before January 2023 when the M Hybrid V8 will have its race debut.

This is by far one of the most interesting LMDh prototypes we have seen lately, and it is easily recognizable as a BMW. It features a huge grille - just like all the recently launched models, a massive front splitter, see-through fenders, and a giant rear wing. It even has a more pronounced version of the central channel we’ve seen in the recently launched M4.

The new BMW M Hybrid V8 was built as a celebration of BMW M’s 50th anniversary. This means it will get many of the design elements we’ve already seen on other special edition models: the special BMW M logo, twin BMW icon lights, dynamic body side, Hofmeister kink window graphic, M ‘hook’ mirrors and the taillights. But, unlike all the other celebratory models, the race car will also feature a unique livery. It will be used during the entire testing season and pays tribute to five decades of motor racing. Translated, that means it incorporates images of the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1981 BMW M1/C, the 1978 BMW 320i Turbo, the 1986 BMW GTP, the BMW M3 E36 GTS-2, the BMW Z4 GTLM and the BMW M8 GTE. The livery however will not be used during the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship in 2023 where it will race for the first time.

BMW's New LMDh Prototype For The 2023 Season Looks Very M-Like
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While BMW offered no official specifications on its new racer, LMDh regulations give us a few ideas of what to expect. The car must be built on a 3,148 mm (123.93 inches) wheelbase (+/-5mm for setup adjustments), its length must not exceed 5,100 mm (200.78 inches), and the width 2,000 mm (78.74 inches). All cars must have an adjustable rear wing. The car must be built on a carbon fiber chassis produced by Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic, or Oreca - BMW opted for a Dallara chassis. As for the hybrid system it must combine a Bosch electric motor, a Xtrac sequential gearbox, and the lithium-ion traction battery offered by Williams Advanced Engineering. The combustion engine - a V-8 in this case - comes from BMW.

The new M Hybrid V8 will begin testing in the next few weeks and will make its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023. Since it complies to the LMDh regulations it will most likely race in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans.

BMW's New LMDh Prototype For The 2023 Season Looks Very M-Like
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“My team’s job was to make the BMW M Hybrid V8 look like a BMW, and embrace every opportunity to make it also perform like one on the race track,” said BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director Michael Scully. “The design is rooted in BMW’s DNA of purposeful, efficient performance, and the exterior’s bold, determined character invokes BMW’s frontiersmanship of turbo power, now united with an optimized hybrid electric powertrain. The camouflage livery celebrates the 50 Years of M by commemorating the great cars of BMW’s storied history in IMSA racing while uniquely cloaking the BMW M Hybrid V8’s future-facing exterior geometry and technologies during the critical on-track development phase of the project. If you look closely you’ll discover multiple winners of the Daytona 24 Hours, as well as the very first purpose-built IMSA GTP car from 1981, the BMW M1/C. We’ll follow-up this camouflage with a works livery that exemplifies the dynamism and excitement of hybrid electric-powered competition.”

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the Topspeed.com team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with Topspeed.com ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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