BMW will not leave LM GTE Pro for the new “Hypercar” class, despite being part of the working group that ratified the rules and regulations.
BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt told Autosport that BMW were not currently looking into developing a “Hypercar” as the inaugural car specifications are not in line with any of their upcoming production cars. Marquardt explained that BMW’s input in the working group was not to be a “prime mover” in the class, but to monitor and shape the future of the new “Hypercars”.
“Honestly speaking, there is no more in it than that.” Marquardt concluded on the topic.
The underlying tone from Marquardt was that BMW are content with currently racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship LM GTE Pro class and the IMSA SportsCar Championship in North America with their M8 GTE, as it puts their new production car in direct competition with those in the same marketplace.
“We are competing with Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, Aston Martin, the natural competitors for our road cars, of the 8-Series, of our brand as well.” Marquardt went on to explain to Autosport. “As a racer you always want to go for the overall win, but if you’re a marketing guy, you say you want to go head to head with your competition, and this is what we have in GTE.”
“We have the M8 being launched in 2019 and that is the top level right now. If you look at the production line-up, which has much a longer lead time than anything else, there is nothing on the horizon within BMW.”
The current “Hypercar” rules require a car that BMW does not currently have intentions to produce, nor technology they hope to incorporate into their road cars. Therefore, Marquardt stated it would be a “hard time” trying to convince a need for a “Hypercar” outside of the motorsport branch of the company.
He continued to say that the first prototype programme from BMW, since their 24 Hours of Le Mans winning V12 LMR in 1998/99, would have to offer the company a “relevant technology platform for the brand.”
Although BMW may not be looking at a 2020/21 “Hypercar”, Marquardt was keen to reiterate the manufacturer’s interest in hydrogen fuel cell technology. Speaking about this, Marquardt said: “We have already done a concept to know that you could use it in endurance racing, because it is a technology we will be aiming at for production vehicles.”
A zero-emissions class will be coming to Le Mans for the 2024 rendition of the race, which could be when BMW take the step to the “Hypercar” class, going for an overall Le Mans victory with a hydrogen fuel cell.