BMW Motorsports revealed its all-new M8 GTE at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany on September 12. The latest Bavarian sled will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship series’ seasons next year. The car will also be the automotive manufacturer’s official return to the 24 hour of Le Mans. BMW hasn’t competed there since 2011. It’s last 24 Hour of Le Mans overall victory was in 1999 with its BMW V12 LMR.
As the new GT-flagship for BMW, the aggressive looking M8 will showcase its aim at developing power and pedigree through efficiency and technology. The 4.0 liter TwinPower Turbo Technology V8 will produce more than 500 horsepower and an approximate 7,000 rpm redline, depending on which class the car is competing in.
“The BMW M8 GTE is our new GT flagship and will go head to head with the strong opposition in this sector,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “For us, the presentation of the uncamouflaged car at the IAA is the next important step on the road to our first race outing, which we plan to be the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2018. The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are a top competitive environment for our new challenger. With the BMW M8 GTE, we are bringing cutting-edge technology to the top international class of GT racing, whilst at the same time tying in with our tradition at Le Mans. The development of the BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we can hardly wait to see the car challenging for victories in 2018.”
Ultra lightweight composite materials make up the body of the GT car. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) makes up the quick-change outer shell, with a carbon-core composite body and a DMSB-certified roll cage.
Rapid-prototyping and 3D printing has been essential in its development as engineers can virtually design a part and have a working prototype in 24 hours.
Progression of the M8 GTE has also yielded a new algorithm claiming substantial CFD improvement, but no official CFD numbers were revealed. By virtual-testing, the engineers can attempt various situations before taking an actual model to the wind tunnel. One such fruit of its labor are the concept aero rims, also revealed at IAA.
Utilizing artificial-intelligence assistance the BMW also created a new traction-control system for the car although details weren’t revealed as to how the system operates or what improvements it made over prior control systems.
The competition version will have a 16-button, seven-dial steering wheel, a rear-facing camera with object detection, live telemetry vehicle-monitoring and OSRAM LED headlights.
The BMW M8 GTE and its consumer production version will both be manufactured at the company’s BMW Group Plant Dingolfing. Available as a 2018 model year vehicle, it comes as a revival of the company’s 8 Series which has been gone for nearly 20 years.
The BMW M8 GTE’s scheduled premier competition will be the Rolex 24 at Daytona January 25-28, 2018.