The BMW M Hybrid V8 has arrived in North America and was presented to the public for the first time in its racing livery at a launch event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles (USA). The first prototype that BMW M Motorsport has developed in 25 years will sport a forward-looking livery that showcases the classic BMW M colors when it competes in the GTP class of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The four regular drivers who will sit in the cockpits of the two vehicles fielded by BMW M Team RLL were also presented in the Petersen Museum. They are the BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA), Philipp Eng (AUT), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR). When they make their racing debut in January 2023 in Daytona (USA), they will receive prominent support from the IndyCar series: Colton Herta (USA).
M Hybrid V8 in racing design
Guests at the event in Los Angeles included BMW M Managing Director Franciscus van Meel, Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos, IMSA President John Doonan and the owners of BMW M Team RLL, Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Patrick Lanigan. Franciscus van Meel said: “We are proud to be returning to the big motorsport stage with the BMW M Hybrid V50, parallel to the 8th anniversary of BMW M. We are very pleased that we can start this adventure in North America, the most important international market for BMW M GmbH. Because for us, the BMW M Hybrid V8 is more than a racing car. It points the way to an electrified future for BMW M by impressively demonstrating how dynamic and emotionally electrified M Power can be.”
Andreas Roos said: “Being back in the top class of motorsport and being able to fight for overall victories in legendary races like those in Daytona, Sebring or Road Atlanta in 2023 is both a great challenge and huge motivation for everyone at BMW M Motorsport. We have worked very hard over the past few months to... BMW M Hybrid V8 to get race-ready in a short time. Many thanks to all our partners at Dallara, BMW M Team RLL, our development team RMG and BMW Group Designworks for the fantastic support in building, developing and testing the car. A big thank you also goes to our sponsoring partners, without whose support such a project would not be possible. The BMW M Hybrid V8 is a beautiful racing car. Now it's our job to make it fast. We are working towards that goal every day and we are confident that we will be ready in January when things get going in Daytona.”
BMW M Team RLL Team Principal Bobby Rahal said: “We are undoubtedly aware of the commitment and dedication this new project will require from Team RLL if it is to be successful. BMW M Motorsport is providing us with a great car, an equally great engine and excellent drivers, which we are very happy about. We understand the magnitude of the challenge ahead and look forward to taking it on. As in all other projects before, the degree of cooperation and teamwork was exceptional. Being there from the start gives our staff a good insight into the processes. I learned early on that you have to curb your expectations of new projects. Yes, we have hopes and are confident that we will ultimately succeed, but as with any new project, there are unforeseen circumstances that can work for or against you. For Team RLL, it's about being prepared for both possibilities.”
The BMW M Hybrid V8 has already started its intensive test phase in the USA. Earlier this week, a session took place at Sebring International Raceway (USA). The test vehicle will be on display during the “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta (USA) next weekend. The Petersen Museum focused on two topics: the world premiere of the racing design of the BMW M Hybrid V8 and the presentation of the four regular drivers and an additional driver for the endurance races.
Topic 1: Design and racing livery of the BMW M Hybrid V8.
Like the camouflage livery in which the BMW M Hybrid V8 completes its test drives, the design for the races comes from BMW Group Designworks under the project management of Michael Scully. The factory livery represents a significant departure from the historically dominated "IMSA Icon" design with references to previous IMSA racing vehicles, to a future-oriented crest made of modern fractal blocks of the iconic M colors and the M logo. "These elements have been deconstructed and at first glance form what appears to be an abstract triangular shape on the BMW M Hybrid V8, but when you look straight on from the side the M logo fits together exactly - M reconstructed, if you will," explained Scully .
The design also includes "Mbedded" references to the BMW logo, as well as blue and purple color elements representing the natural colors of electricity. A meanwhile fixed element in all BMW M Motorsport factory designs is the matt black extension of the driver's position in front of the cockpit, which expands the orientation of the BMW interior design towards the driver and thus once again emphasizes the focus on the driver. This non-reflective matte black part of the design will be the only decaled part on the racing cars as all other black areas will be the natural carbon shell visible from the outside. “With this measure, we save 25-30 percent weight compared to a conventional racing livery. Less is more," Scully said.
The racing design also now reveals details of the chassis of the BMW M Hybrid V8, some of which were still hidden by the camouflage livery. This includes the laser-illuminated kidney in typical architecture for a modern prototype front. The air that flows through and under the kidney grille is fundamental to the car's aerodynamic performance – both in terms of downforce and cooling. Also characteristic are the faceted engine cover, the embedded BMW logo and the inverted Y-configuration between the kidneys, which is already familiar from the BMW M Vision Next and shows that ideas from BMW showcars are used not only in series but also in racing vehicles. These elements, flanked by the characteristic twin headlights, make the BMW M Hybrid V8 unmistakably a BMW from the front.
Kidney lighting uses a new technology for the first time: the innovative Swiss company LESS SA has developed an alternative to LED lighting that generates light using a nano-active optical fiber that is activated by a laser. This creates ultra-bright and extremely uniform light within a very small form factor, which saves significant weight and energy in the car. This technology was also presented for the first time in 2019 in the BMW M Vision Next as a vision of the future.
In the side view, the BMW M Hybrid V8 reveals other typical BMW elements: the forward-bent shark nose, the boomerang-shaped wing directly behind the front wheel arch, which is reminiscent of the Air Breather of the BMW M4, the M side mirrors and a modern interpretation of the Hofmeister kink. The diagonal edge line of the sidepods underlines the rounded surface above and at the same time defines the airflow out of the front diffuser. "A great example of the close integration of BMW design DNA with technical efficiency that characterizes such racing projects," said Scully.
Topic 2: Driver.
The four regular drivers in the 2023 IMSA season are Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly. They will drive the two BMW M Hybrid V8 vehicles with starting numbers 24 and 25 in all races of the season. De Phillippi and Yelloly as well as Eng and Farfus each form a driver pairing. They receive support at the four IMSA endurance races in Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta (all USA). One driver who will be at the 24 Hours of Daytona is IndyCar driver Colton Herta. He is one of the stars of the American racing scene and, together with BMW M Team RLL, was able to celebrate a victory at Daytona in 2019 - at that time with the BMW M8 GTE in the GTLM class. The other endurance riders will be announced at a later date.
“Being part of the GTP program has been my dream since it was announced. I know that we are all eager to achieve good results for BMW M Motorsport at the top level of the IMSA series,” said De Phillippi. “It's an honor for me to have been given this unique opportunity.” Eng said: “I'm really looking forward to the challenge and would like to thank BMW M Motorsport for the trust. I will never forget the first laps in the BMW M Hybrid V8. It is a thoroughbred racing vehicle with a lot of power and downforce. It reminds me of the Class 1 vehicles in the DTM. It's going to be a lot of fun driving it on the IMSA circuits.” Yelloly said: “After my first outings at Daytona and Sebring, it's great to be driving the full season in North America in this great car. For me it's a return to my roots with high-downforce racing vehicles. I'm really looking forward to it.” Farfus said: “Representing BMW M Motorsport at the top level again and being part of the start of this new era in motorsport is a unique opportunity and a great honor for me. This exciting project is one of the highlights of my career. The competition is very tough and we will learn a lot in our first year. But I think that we have all the prerequisites to achieve good results right from the start. We are definitely working hard on it.”
Data on the chassis of the BMW M Hybrid V8.
|minimum weight||1.030 kg|
Technical data on the P66/3 engine of the BMW M Hybrid V8.
|designation||Otto four-stroke bi-turbo engine in V design|
|number of cylinders||8|
|cylinder construction||Cylinder block and cylinder head in cast aluminium, cylinder liner as an iron layer using the LDS process|
|V angle||90 °|
|cylinder spacing||102 mm|
|valves per cylinder||4|
|number of revolutions||Max. 8.200 rpm|
|Performance (Regulations)||about 640 PS|
|torque||approx. 650 Nm|
|injection||High-pressure direct injection at 350 bar|
|oil system||Dry sump system with six-cell oil scavenge pump and oil tank|
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