After months of intensive preparation, the wait is over. This weekend, the BMW M Hybrid V8 – the first BMW M Motorsport prototype race car with a hybrid drive system – will make its race debut at the ‘Rolex 24’ at Daytona (USA). BMW M Team RLL will run two BMW M Hybrid V8 cars in the GTP class at the opening round of this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will be supported by numerous strong partners.
Daytona. After months of intensive preparation, the wait is over. This weekend, the BMW M Hybrid V8 – the first BMW M Motorsport prototype race car with a hybrid drive system – will make its race debut at the ‘Rolex 24’ at Daytona (USA). BMW M Team RLL will run two BMW M Hybrid V8 cars in the GTP class at the opening round of this season’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will be supported by numerous strong partners. The BMW M Motorsport Media Guide takes a detailed look at the technology and design behind the car, as well as the team and drivers. You can find the media guide attached and in the BMW Group Pressclub at the following link: http://b.mw/M_Hybrid_V8_Mediaguide. As well as the BMW M Hybrid V8, the BMW M4 GT3 will also feature in both GTD classes at Daytona, while the new BMW M4 GT4 competes in the BMW M Endurance Challenge, the opening round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
The race debut of the BMW M Hybrid V8 heralds the start of a new era for BMW M Motorsport. For the first time since 1999, a prototype in BMW M colours will do battle for overall victory at the major US classics at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta (all USA) as well as all other IMSA GTP races. It is also the first time a BMW M Motorsport car will race with a hybrid drive system, making the BMW M Hybrid V8 more than just a race car charged with challenging for victories and titles. It also points the way to an electrified future of BMW M, by emphatically demonstrating how dynamic and emotional electrified M Power can be.
BMW M Team RLL will field the two BMW M Hybrid V8s in the battle against top-class opposition from Acura, Cadillac and Porsche in the GTP class. The two regular drivers Philipp Eng (AUT) and Augusto Farfus (BRA) will alternate at the wheel of the #24 car with two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER) and IndyCar driver Colton Herta (USA). Herta is also the fourth driver in the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8. This car will also be driven by regular drivers Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR), together with reigning DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde (RSA). BMW M works driver Dries Vanthoor (BEL) is also at Daytona as the reserve driver for the BMW M Hybrid V8 and BMW M Team RLL. The race, which gets underway this Saturday at 13:40 local time (19:40 CET), is the first of nine GTP events that make up the 2023 IMSA season. The two BMW M Hybrid V8 will start the race in Daytona from P7 and P8 on the grid, following qualifying at last weekend’s ‘Roar before the 24’. There, the focus was on set-up work for the race.
Supported by strong partners.
BMW M Motorsport can rely on the support of strong partners on the GTP project. Mobile phone manufacturer iQOO is Premium Partner, and its logo consequently features prominently on the two BMW M Hybrid V8. Shell is also involved again, as a long-term Premium Technology Partner of BMW M Motorsport. Ade Ajala, Vice President Global Key Accounts at Shell, said: “As a longstanding Technical Partner of BMW M Motorsport and on the back of a successful track record of collaboration to enhance on-track durability and performance in the WEC and DTM, Shell Lubricants has created a new transmission fluid to support BMW M Motorsport’s return to international prototype racing with the BMW M Hybrid V8, starting at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The bespoke transmission fluid is specifically designed for the demanding requirements of endurance racing, it has been successfully tested by BMW M Motorsport’s engineering team and contains over 70% bio-based raw materials which are derived from renewable resources, enabling us to contribute to the decarbonisation of motorsport.”
Akrapovič, CATL, H&R, MINTH, OZ and PUMA are also partners of BMW M Motorsport. Davorin Dobočnik, Akrapovič d. d. CEO, said: “Expanding our official partnership with BMW M Motorsport to the BMW M Hybrid V8 project is a big milestone for us, and it would be hard to imagine a more attractive beginning to our twelfth consecutive racing season together than seeing the GTP prototype in competitive action for the first time in 2023. Creating a very bespoke exhaust for this racing car with a hybrid drive was a welcome technical challenge for our team, which enjoyed working alongside BMW M Motorsport engineers on this task.” Furthermore, BMW M Team RLL is supported by Global Medical Response and Fast Forward.
Many more BMW M works drivers in action at Daytona.
As well as the GTP cars, the BMW M4 GT3 and the BMW M4 GT4 will also be well represented at Daytona. Turner Motorsport will field the #95 BMW M4 GT3 in the GTD-PRO class in the 24-hour race. BMW M works drivers John Edwards (USA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN) will share the driving duties with Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull (both USA). In the GTD class, Turner Motorsport will run the #96 BMW M4 GT3 with BMW M works driver Jens Klingmann (GER), Robby Foley, Michael Dinan and Patrick Gallagher (all USA). Paul Miller Racing also competes in the GTD Class with the #1 BMW M4 GT3, with BMW M works driver Maxime Martin (BEL), Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis (all USA) at the wheel.
A total of five new BMW M4 GT4s will start the opening race of this season’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. The four-hour BMW M Endurance Challenge begins on Friday at 13:45 local time (19:45 CET). It has formed the exciting and high-quality prelude to the 24-hour race for a number of years now. Among those in action for the Fast Track Racing team is BMW M works driver Neil Verhagen (USA). Auto Technic Racing, Stephen Cameron Racing and Turner Motorsport will also run the new BMW M Motorsport car. BMW M is also providing the official safety cars for the 24-hour race and the BMW M Endurance Challenge: the BMW XM (fuel consumption combined in l/100 km: 1.6-1.5 (WLTP); electric power consumption combined in kWh/100 km: 30.1-28.9 (WLTP); CO2 emissions combined in g/km: 36-33 (WLTP). Electrical range in km: 82-88 (WLTP)) and the BMW M4 CSL (fuel consumption combined: 10.1 – 9.8 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 227 – 222 g/km (WLTP)).
Quotes ahead of the race at Daytona:
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The time for preparations is over – now comes the weekend, for which everyone involved in this ambitious project has been working so hard for many months. The 24 Hours of Daytona is the first big test for the BMW M Hybrid V8. Like our competitors, we have taken on the challenge of developing, building and testing a high-tech prototype to the point that it is competitive and ready to race – all within a short time. We are all very excited now to see the result of all our hard work out on the racetrack. I am very proud of what the whole team has achieved on this project and thank everybody very much. I hope for them and our fans that we are rewarded for our efforts with a positive race debut. To start a new era of hybrid racing with such a classic marathon is a mighty challenge, and one for which we have great respect. However, we can hardly wait to face that challenge over the coming days.”
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “It’s unusual that the first race of a season is the biggest and most difficult race at the same time. But that’s what makes it unique. We have won here two times in the GTLM class with BMW M Motorsport. Now to come here with the GTP car is a dream come true for me. To be able to win this race overall again after my victory as a racing driver in 1981 would be very special for me personally and professionally for the whole organisation. The Roar has been good for us, but now the tough stuff happens.”
Philipp Eng (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I’m extremely happy to be a part of this programme and to be able to work closely with the BMW M Motorsport engineers. Being involved in such a factory programme is a lot of fun. The Roar went really well for us. Every lap helps us to learn more about the car, which is a pleasure to drive. I’m looking forward not only to Daytona but the whole IMSA season. We have a good team and good drivers who can achieve a lot.”
Augusto Farfus (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “As a new chapter in sports car racing opens here at Daytona, we have a big challenge ahead of us. The Roar has been very productive and the race will be different from other 24-hour races. It will be about minimising mistakes and bringing the car to the end. As far as the season is concerned, it will be a rookie year for Philipp and myself. There will be a lot to learn with many new tracks awaiting us. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Marco Wittmann (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “We did a lot of laps during the Roar which is very important especially when you have a new car like the BMW M Hybrid V8. Looking at the race it will be exciting to see who did the best job regarding reliability. I think we have a strong line-up. The guys at BMW M Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL have worked really hard over the past months to be as well prepared for Daytona as possible. We all hope for a successful weekend of course.”
Colton Herta (#24/#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “It’s the dawn of a new sports car era and there are a lot of big manufacturers and great drivers to compete against, but BMW M Motorsport has shown in the past that they are capable of winning such big races. I am excited to be part of it and to have the challenge to race on both cars. I love this race and can’t wait to get going.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “The Rolex 24 is the Super Bowl of sports car racing so there is a lot of pressure on everybody in the paddock, but if we do our job we have a chance as good as everybody to fight for the win. Here at Daytona we are still busy working on understanding the car and finding the happy spot for the balance. We still have some work to do, but I think we’ll be in a good window, when the race comes. Looking at the whole season we will have a lot more time to test and develop the car and I’m sure we’ll be capable of winning races.”
Nick Yelloly (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “To be at Daytona after all these tough months of being away from home for the team and all the testing is very exciting. We are working together very well and had no issues during the Roar, but for the 24-hour race looking after the car will be paramount. I think, if we have a good and reliable car, we will be able to fight at the front. Personally, I am really looking forward to my first full season in America having raced in Europe and Asia before. It’s exciting to be a part of the new era of sports car racing.”
Sheldon van der Linde (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “That’s my first racing experience in a prototype and an exciting way to start the season. Daytona is always a special place and I’m happy to support the team. It is difficult to get to learn a new car and also be in a race weekend straight away, but I’m confident we did our homework over the winter.”