M8-based racer heralds BMW's return to Le Mans
BMW stunned attendees at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy with a concept for the resurrected 8 Series coupe. The Bavarian automaker hasn’t even dropped details about the production 8 Series – let alone the high-performance M variant – and already it’s teasing the version it plans to take racing, the M8 GTE.
BMW Motorsport formally announced its next race car back in May, but just revealed the first sketch of the M8 GTE on Twitter. The profile and greenhouse shape appear to carry over from the Concept 8 Series, and the race car also features prominent front fender air breather vents just like the show car. Being an endurance race car, the M8 GTE also receives a large rear wing, front splitter, and auxiliary lights for night driving. It’s still unknown what will power the 8 Series and M8, but the big coupe could share engine options with the 7 Series. That would give the M8 access to a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 and a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12, though a boosted 12-cylinder wouldn’t be allowed under GTE regulations. The M6 GTLM that BMW currently campaigns in sports car series like the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship uses a modified S63 twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, so carrying that engine over to the M8 GTE, which will likely replace the M6 GTLM, makes sense.
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) July 18, 2017
BMW Motorsport previously said the M8 GTE would spearhead the brand’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018, and subsequently the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it hasn’t raced a factory-backed car since 2011. Rumor has it that the M8 GTE will debut at the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona next January. In the meantime, check out images of the 8 Series concept in the gallery below.
Source: BMW via Twitter