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BMW is going back to Le Mans

BMW confirms plans for GT entry in WEC, plus Formula E involvement and more

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In 2018, BMW will return to Le Mans. It’ll be 19 years after its first and only outright victory at la Sarthe, though this time BMW is going after GT-class silverware, rather than prototype glory.

The confirmed commitment to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is the calendar’s flagship event, has been announced as part of BMW’s new motorsport strategy, which focuses on ‘production-based cars’ (i.e. stuff that looks like road-legal M4s and whathaveyou, not single-seater open wheel stuff). 

BMW will continue to duke it out with Mercedes-AMG and Audi in DTM, add the M4 GT4 to its customer racecar roster, and maintain Mini’s winning involvement with the punishing Dakar rally. The exact nature of its Le Mans entry is still a secret, but it’s interesting to see big guns getting stuck back into endurance racing following Ford’s birthday win with the GT in 2016. Still some life in building fast, loud cars that go quickly in circles, then…

Meanwhile, BMW’s dipping a toe in the water of electric motorsport. Munich’s motorsport masterplan includes two seasons of support for Mario Andretti’s Formula E team. ‘Support’ means “cooperation at engineer level and the mutual use of resources” rather than waving banners and sounding klaxon horns here, but BMW’s serious about entering the championship with a full works team. 

It’s announced, “depending on the general development of the racing series, a works involvement is envisaged as of the 2018/2019 season, provided the conditions and circumstances are right. BMW’s i-cars could well be going racing, then, giving Munich one of the widest portfolios in all motorsport. 

Though it’s not been in Formula One for seven years, BMW’s been quietly doing rather well in international racing away while Mercedes has been racking up the F1 wins. A customer M6 GT3 won the Spa 24 Hours this year, while BMW itself took the DTM constructor’s title in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Now Le Mans, Formula E and GT3 are on the cards, what other series would you like to see BMW fighting in?

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