A factory GTE entry marks BMW’s return to the 24 hour classic.You might not believe it, but BMW hasn’t raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2011. This is a manufacturer that was once synonymous with sports car racing and has been an overall winner of the 24 endurance race.
Thankfully, the manufacturer is officially returning to the race in 2018 with a factory GTE Pro entry. Le Mans will just be part of BMW’s assault on the WEC’s top sports car class starting in two years.
Right now, BMW’s sports car efforts are focused on the M6 GT3 (which runs in IMSA with Bobby Rahal’s team in an upgraded spec) and the upcoming M4 GT4. The car that BMW will run at Le Mans and in the WEC is yet to be announced, but there are a number of possibilities. It could be a new version of the M6, an M3 or M4, or even a motorsports version of the upcoming Z5 that BMW is co-developing with Toyota.
The Z5 would actually make sense considering BMW had run the Z4 in competition until very recently. Of course, that would depend on the Z5 having an engine that will work in the series, considering the Z4 had wavers in order to run a V8, an engine that wasn’t in any production Z4.
No matter what, more manufacturers is more good, and having BMW back at Le Mans only bodes well for the future