BMW has just unveiled the M8 GTE race car at the Frankfurt Motor Show that will compete next season, including in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
That means BMW Motorsport will make its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year, and those in North America will get to see the M8 GTE in action as it competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC).
BMW says development of the production model is running parallel to the motorsport project, which means knowledge gained from racing will be directly incorporated into the road-going car.
Due to regulations, the BMW M8 GTE is powered by a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine, which will have a base output of over 500 horsepower, depending on the classification. Both the cylinder block and cylinder head are taken from the production engine and BMW is focusing on achieving the greatest possible efficiency and maximum durability through its racing program. Paired with the engine on the M8 GTE is a sequential six-speed racing gearbox.
There’s a strong focus on being lightweight, with the car tipping the sales at just 2,690 pounds (1,220 kilograms). The overall design that you see will closely resemble the production 8 Series and eventual M8, particularly with the roof line, headlights, and tail lights.
“The BMW M8 GTE is our new GT flagship and will go head to head with the strong opposition in this sector,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “For us, the presentation of the uncamouflaged car at the IAA is the next important step on the road to our first race outing, which we plan to be the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2018. The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are a top competitive environment for our new challenger. With the BMW M8 GTE, we are bringing cutting-edge technology to the top international class of GT racing, whilst at the same time tying in with our tradition at Le Mans. The development of the BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we can hardly wait to see the car challenging for victories in 2018.”
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