BMW returns to Le Mans
This will naturally see BMW competing once again at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race for the first time in a while, a prospect the firm is “particularly looking forward to”.
Despite being a regular competitor since the 1930s, BMW has only one constructor win under its belt. This came in 1999 and the company will be keen to repeat that success this time round. Several memorable BMW vehicles have graced the circuit throughout the years – the M1 racers from the 1980s were popular contenders, as were the 3.0 CSL and 3.5 CSL of the decade before. These are regarded as ‘cult’ racing cars today.
The 2018 offering won’t be a 100% LMP1 racer taking on the title-winning Porsche 010 Hybrid and Audi R18 e-trons that swept all before it. Instead, it will feature in the growing GTE class which this year saw the debut of the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Ford GT racer.
BMW’s return to Le Mans was announced as the company unveiled its forthcoming motorsport strategy which will include participation in:
- DTM German touring cars
- FIA World Endurance Championship
- U.S. IMSA Sports Car Championship
- FIA Formula E
- GT3 and GT4 Sportscars
- Dakar Rally (with MINI)
BMW’s participation in Formula E is a significant step, it will see the carmaker team up with Michel Andretti’s Formula E team, “in order to familiarise itself with the processes in this innovative series, and to check the possibility of a works involvement in the future”.
This adds growing momentum to the new all-electric series racing series, which has also seen the official launch of an official Jaguar works Formula E racer.
Sadly, there are no plans for the firm to return to any Formula 1 action. BMW pulled out seven years ago and has shown little inclination to go back. Alternatively, it has announced it is to focus on a broader, motorsport strategy that includes BMW M, BMW, and MINI, all branded under a new BMW Motorsport division.