BMW has released the first official images of its new M8 GTE racecar that will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship starting in 2018.
The photos, taken during the racecar’s first official test at the Lausitzring in Germany, give us a good look at the styling of the upcoming BMW M8. Not surprisingly, the new coupe will be very large and will have a long hood, stubby rear end and small overhangs. Like other new BMWs, it will also feature two large kidney grilles out front flanked by some narrow, angry-looking headlights.
In addition to its FIA WEC participation, the M8 GTE will also take to the track in North America in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. BMW says the racecar will undergo many more tests at racetracks around Europe and North America ahead of its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January. The automaker also said the highlight of next year for the M8 GTE will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
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“Firstly, I feel very honoured to have been able to drive at the first real test of the BMW M8 GTE on the racetrack,” said BMW test driver Martin Tomczyk after the three-day test at the Lausitzring. “I had great fun with the car. The BMW M8 GTE is good to drive from the outset, and it is easy for us drivers to work out the way it handles, which is important. We got a lot of kilometres under our belt, and gathered a lot of data. We also took our first steps with regard to performance, which is by no means a given at a first test. We will obviously work more intensively on that at the coming tests, and will build on the strong basis we established here at the Lausitzring.”
Powering the M8 and the related M8 GTE will likely be the updated version of BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 that is to be found in the upcoming M5. The engine will produce at least 600 horsepower in the performance sedan, and we’re expecting similar output for the M8. The M5 will also feature an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, and while we’re expecting the eight-speed to appear in the M8, it will likely send power to the rear-wheels only.
The BMW 8-Series and M8 should debut sometime later this year or early next year. A debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September seems possible, or perhaps at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We’ll have more info on the upcoming coupe once it becomes available.
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