BMW M8 GTE to Race at 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans

After a long hiatus, BMW returns to Le Mans.

Lausitzring (GER) 11th July 2017. BMW Motorsport, Testing, Martin Tomczyk (GER) BMW M8 GTE.
Andreas Beil—Andreas Beil

BMW recently continued its testing and development of the new BMW M8 GTE race car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. They had a full crew taking turns at the wheel, including Martin Tomczyk, Nick Catsburg, Bruno Spengler and Philipp Eng. Starting in 2018, BMW will have the BMW M8 GTE competing in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The BMW M8 GTE will make its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January—but BMW's main goal for the M8 GTE is to bring the brand's factory race program back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

BMW

BMW Motorsport has not fielded a car since 2011, when the BMW M3 GT2 was the factory car. The last BMW to earn a victory at Le Mans was the BMW V12 LMR back in 1999, when it took the overall win. The BMW M8 GTE will run in the GTE Pro class. BMW has not confirmed any official specifications of the car, but from video, the car sounds to be powered by a version of the M5's twin-turbo V-8 engine, which can put out over 600 hp. 

Even without knowing the exact specs, it's safe to assume that the engine will be down on power around 100 hp, but the stripped-down nature of the race car version, combined with the lightweight, race-spec parts, will make the M8 GTE much faster on track than the future M8 road car.

We expect the M8 GTE to be shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, and consumers should see the BMW M8 road car not long after.