The only thing growing faster than inflation over the last few years has BMW‘s grilles. The subject of much debate, the brand’s new LMDh race car, the BMW M Hybrid V8, which was just revealed, may actually pull it off.
The automaker today revealed its newest race, designed to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship in 2023. When it does compete there, though, it won’t be sporting this livery.
The camouflage you see the BMW M Hybrid V8 in now was specially designed for the car to hide certain performance-critical geometries and will be worn during its testing regime. Intended to celebrate the M brand’s 50th anniversary, it sports references to all five decades of its existence. That means that, incorporated into the design are images of the 1976 BMW 3.0 CSL, the 1981 M1/C, the 1978 320i Turbo, the 1986 GTP, the M3 E36 GTS-2, the Z4 GTLM, and the M8 GTE all arranged in a graphic mosaic.
The rest of the design, meanwhile, should look a lot like this because the car was created to look like a modern BMW. The development team was tasked not only with making it fast and aerodynamic, but also with incorporating elements such as the M “hook” mirrors, the Hofmeister kink in the window graphic, the twin BMW icon lights, and, of course, the massive grille.
A fixture of modern BMWs, it even has a central channel running down the hood like the current M4. And I have to say, I don’t hate it. Although it looks a lot like other endurance racers, the front end does look more holistically designed than, say, the after-thought grille on the BMW V12 LMR that won Le Mans in 1999.
“My team’s job was to make the BMW M Hybrid V8 look like a BMW, and embrace every opportunity to make it also perform like one on the race track,” said BMW Group Designworks Global Automotive Director Michael Scully. “The design is rooted in BMW’s DNA of purposeful, efficient performance, and the exterior’s bold, determined character invokes BMW’s frontiersmanship of turbo power; now united with an optimized hybrid electric powertrain.”
The automaker says that it will follow this example of the car up with a works livery that “exemplifies the dynamism and excitement of hybrid electric-powered competition.”
Developed with the help of Dallara, the race car will now undergo performance testing before making its competition debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023. Designed to meet LMDh regulations, it will also be eligible to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.