BMW is the latest automaker jumping into the LMDh ring, releasing the first images of its new M Hybrid V8 race car (yes, that's it real name). While the M Hybrid V8 is wearing an awesome M-themed camouflage livery for testing purposes, this gives us a great look at how cool the race car's design is.
The biggest design element of the M Hybrid V8, both literally and figuratively, is the classic kidney grille. The wide grille openings might be the biggest BMW has ever put on a car, and the outline informs the shape of the sculpted hood. Vertical headlight pods at the edges of the front end have dual slash-mark LED strips that are a new BMW signature, and the side mirrors ape the shape of road cars' mirrors. It even has a Hofmeister kink in the side windows, albeit a rough interpretation of it. One interesting detail are the M1-style BMW roundels on each corner of the rear end, which seems like it could become a new BMW design theme -- the XM also features them.
When it comes to the aerodynamic package the M Hybrid V8 is pretty similar to other prototype race cars, with a large rear wing, a roof scoop that's attached to a central tail fin, a complex rear diffuser and lots of splitters and intakes everywhere. It reminds me of the BMW V12 LMR that won Le Mans overall in 1999, BMW's only overall win. The graphics package for this test car is made up of the classic M colors, and photos of BMW race cars like the 3.0 CSL, M1/C, Z4 GTLM, M8 GTE and my favorite, the 320i Turbo, are overlaid in an abstract way.
No performance details have been given yet, but the M Hybrid V8 is being developed with Dallara. As a reminder, LMDh is one of two new prototype race car classes that will compete at many of the same races under the FIA's Hypercar umbrella. LMDh essentially replaces IMSA's GTP class, with the cars using shared LMP2 platforms and a 670-hp hybrid system. When the BMW makes its debut for the 2023 season it will be joined by LMDh cars from Acura, Cadillac and, with Alpine and set to join in 2024. LMH, meanwhile, replaces the LMP1 class and allows for much more freedom in terms of engineering and design. So far , , and will compete in the 2023 LMH season.