BMW M8 GTE Finishes Initial Testing at Lausitzring
The car will race in IMSA WeatherTech Series and WEC next year.
Shortly after announcing the return of its new flagship 8-Series, BMW also threw in that it would be running an M-badged GTE version in next year's IMSA WeatherTech and WEC series. By jumping straight into motorsport with the new model, BMW is leading up to its Le Mans comeback with the muscular coupe—so it's no surprise that the M8 GTE was spotted testing this last week at East Germany's Lausitzring for the first time.
Though we haven't seen the M8 in production trim yet, the GTE is slated to debut at January's 24 Hours of Daytona race. Much to the pleasure of Bimmer enthusiasts, the company seems to be taking a heritage-based approach with the M8 by putting it through testing at the track before bringing it to showrooms. And if the road going model looks anything like this camouflaged racer, then you can bet that high-end buyers will nab them up faster than you can say "Circuit de la Sarthe."
BMW factory driver Martin Tomczyk and DTM driver Maxime Martin both tested the M8 GTE for three days, helping the manufacturer to perfect the car prior to next year's IMSA and WEC season. Each of the pilots were excited to be the first to test the car on circuit, and apparently, they were able to get a significant amount accomplished.
"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," Tomczyk said. "We got a lot of kilometers under our belt, and gathered a lot of data."
BMW motorsport head Jean Marquadt noted that the team is also pleased with the car's early development as it seems to already be in good shape to go racing. He's quoted in a report from Motorsport as saying, "The first impression of the BMW M8 GTE out on the track is a very positive one.”
The team will continue to develop the car's safety, but shortly after, it's straight off to the heat of battle.
Although we don't know many specifics about the M8 or its racing counterpart, BMW could officially debut the car at September's Frankfurt Auto Show. It will likely use a version of the next generation M5's 4.4-liter twin turbo V8, and all-wheel-drive is also a possibility. Luckily, we won't have to wait much longer, with fall just around the corner.