Yes, BMW’s LMDh Prototype Race Car Has the Big Grille
The all-new BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh prototype race car has the biggest kidney grille yet.
BMW is one of the many new manufacturers entering the 2023 LMDh class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It joins, Porsche, Audi, Cadillac, and Toyota, among others, who will all race prototype hybrid cars in the upcoming racing series. BMW had previously kept the look, name, and details of its upcoming LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid) racer a secret but now it's finally taking the wraps off its newest race car's design.
It's officially called the BMW M Hybrid V8, which is the most refreshingly on-the-nose name BMW has had for any car in decades. It's admittedly bit boring but I'm just happy it's not called the BMW M iHybrid TwinPower xDrive. From the look of it, this new LMDh car is instantly recognizable as a BMW, thanks to its massive kidney grille. BMW's kidney grille is iconic but it's become a caricature of itself in recent years. This one is immense but it works better than on some other modern BMWs because it seems to provide actual, functional aerodynamics for the front end. The livery features a BMW M-colored camouflage that reads "50 Jahre BMW M", to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BMW's M Division.
“The most critical task and the greatest challenge for the design team in the LMDh program design team was that the prototype must be clearly recognizable as a BMW M Motorsport car. And I can say this to all the fans, just one look is enough to confirm that the BMW M Hybrid V8 is a BMW. It clearly carries the genes of BMW M. I also love the camouflage livery with its references to the great history of the brand in North America. Congratulations to the design and aerodynamics departments at BMW M Motorsport and Dallara on their great work. I can hardly wait to see the BMW M Hybrid V8 on the track soon.” said BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel.
This livery is what BMW will use for the remainder of its development testing for the M Hybrid V8. While it looks like camouflage, much of it is made of subtle images of previous BMW M race cars. According to BMW, that camouflaged mosaic is meant to obscure its overall shape from competitors during testing, to keep whatever competitive aerodynamics advantages it might have.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 will have a chassis built by Dallara in Italy, one of four different companies to make chassis for LMDh-class cars. BMW will develop its own engine, though the Bavarians haven't yet release any information on what sort of engine it will be or how much power it will make, likely to maintain a competitive advantage.
BMW--much like the other manufacturers in the LMDh class and their cars--is looking to use the technical information gained from its M Hybrid V8 for future road car development. Nothing creates better production car tech than motorsport development and BMW is hoping to learn much from its LMDh racer so it can improve its upcoming hybrid and electric vehicles. Let's just hope BMW road cars don't get its grille.
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