This afternoon in Frankfurt, the BMW M8 GTE finally showed its true self, shedding its camouflage but not yet sporting the final livery the twin-turbo V8 will have when the MTEK team, tasked with running the car, enters it in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year.
Like Ford with the GT, BMW opted to develop the M8 GTE in tandem with the 8 Series Coupe on which it is based. The concept car - unveiled at the concours d'élégance held at the Villa d'Este in Italy this past May - will be put up at auction next year while the M8 GTE debuts at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January, 2018. The M8 GTE will then compete in both the 2018/2019 season of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) in the LMGTE Pro class and in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Also like Ford, but not Porsche with the new 911 RSR, BMW went with a turbo engine in the form of a twin-turbo 4-cylinder V8 with 500 hp whose cylinder block and cylinder head are identical to the series engine. Naturally, the M8 GTE bears a striking resemblance to the 8 Series Coupe displayed on the conference dais right next to its racing counterpart.
With the M8 GTE, BMW has entered into a new era. Its traction control was developed with the help of artificial intelligence and 3D printing allows for the rapid prototyping of parts in less than 24 hours, giving more freedom to engineers as well as designers.
This use of new technology also allows for more intensive interaction between the teams who run the racing car and those who design the series car, something more and more manufacturers consider vital, even though the importance of the aerodynamics in motorsport is much more significant. In that domain as well, the evolution of the technology facilitates a greater number of simulations before the car heads into the wind tunnel for the first time, certainly a considerable timesaver.
BMW has left nothing to chance for its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a seven year absence. With a first appearance at the race in 1939, it took 70 years for the Munich-based marque to make its way back to Le Mans - namely with the Art Cars, though the idea orginated with auctioneer Hervé Poulain - and 1999 for the manufacturer to reach the top step on the overall podium with the V12 LMR (though a BMW engine powered the McLaren F1 GTR winner in 1995). In 2018, with an overall victory the primary goal, there will still be a stunning battle between six different constructors in the LMGTE Pro class: Aston Martin (entering the Vantage's replacement), Chevrolet Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and now BMW.
Below the presentation video.
PHOTO (Copyright - BMW)