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BMW Planning New GTE Car for 2018/19

BMW planning to build FIA/ACO-homologated GTE car for 2018/19…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

While having only debuted its new M6 GTLM model this year, BMW is already planning ahead to its next factory GT challenger, which is set to be built to full GTE regulations and could take on the FIA World Endurance Championship by as soon as 2018.

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt told Sportscar365 that multiple programs are under evaluation by the German manufacturer, with the vision of building cars to global regulations, unlike its new-for-2016 BMW M6 GTLM, which is only legal for competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Marquardt explained the GT3-based IMSA version of the car was built as a result of GT convergence talks unexpectedly breaking down in mid-2014, at a time when the M6 was already in development around a planned single platform.

“The GTLM car was a result [rather] than a desire,” Marquardt told Sportscar365. “We had to do this solution that we see now. It wasn’t intended from the get-go. So we’ll have to clearly think about how we attack it in the future.

“Obviously the U.S. is such an important market that for sure we’ll have a consistent program over here. But having a “solitaire” car with the DTM car already, I think we should try and avoid solitaires and have more platforms that are more widespread.”

A FIA/ACO-homologated GTE car would achieve that goal, and could take BMW back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 2011, when it ran a pair of BMW M3 GT2 cars in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

“It obviously gives you opportunities,” he said of the GTE platform. “We’ve always been big fans of doing cars that give you multiple opportunities.

“For sure, WEC, as a platform has nicely developed over the years. It has been newly established and it has proceeded nicely. Looking at the spectator figures in Le Mans this year again and the TV coverage getting better and better, the platform is developing nicely.”

While admitting that BMW continues to evaluate prototype options for Le Mans, including a potential Garage 56 effort, Marquardt said a GTE program would be “much quicker and much easier” to establish.

However, he wouldn’t be drawn into exactly when that could come, especially with GT convergence talks potentially set to resume.

Marquardt said the BMW M6 GTLM car is confirmed for WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition again next year, with a new car being developed sometime after that, potentially for as early as 2018.

A decision on the car model has not yet been made, but is understood to likely be around the new-generation M5/M6 model.

“It depends a little bit on the timing and how much time it takes us to get to agreements and how it fits in our model plans and everything,” Marquardt said.

“If the convergence discussions drag on forever, then we need to find a solution for ourselves. Because that’s the more important one.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. guest

    July 13, 2016 at 10:29 am

    The M6 looks awesome in race trim. Hope they continue with the car in GTE…unless of course an i8 GTE would be legal then.

    • Swoodward

      July 13, 2016 at 10:58 am

      An i8 GTE would be amazing

      • N8

        July 13, 2016 at 12:03 pm

        Hey, why not. It’s not as if there needs to be a road going version of these cars any longer. Request your waiver and shove a twin turbo V8 back there!

        • someone

          July 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm

          #salt

        • Amlv20

          July 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm

          Oh you mean a v8 up right!?! As in BMWs Z4 GTLM THAT RAN WITH A V8,and THERE IS AND NEVE HAS BEEN A PRODUCTION Z4 WITH A V8!!!!!

        • Bakkster

          July 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm

          Actually, no longer a requirement that the engine be from the same model of car. As long as you produce 300 engines per year, you’re good.

        • Andy Flinn

          July 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm

          N8, I don’t recall BMW having built a road going V-8 BMW M3 before PTG, Schnitzer and Bell Motorsports started racing them in the ALMS and Grand-Am GT classes in 2001.

    • 7D3

      July 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      I defiantly hope they continue with the BMW M6 GTLM.

      The BMW i8 would be amazing but I think won’t happen.

  2. 7D3

    July 13, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Finally!!!

    BMW is going to the WEC and Le Mans.

    I think the BMW M6 GTE will be the best car for the job because its the closet racer to the BMW M3 GT2.

    • Amlv20

      July 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Lol like if the m3 gt2 did any good at Le mans.the m6 is completly the wrong car to take to Le mans,long straights and high speeds the m6 will be more like a brick trying to cut through the air than a slick wedge like ferrari,corvette,porsche,and ford. Bmw has always had an issue with big frontal areas and drag.

      • Bakkster

        July 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

        The M6 set the 2nd fastest top speeds at both WGI and CTMP.

      • rennsport4.4tV8

        July 17, 2016 at 3:10 am

        The M6 GT is a step forward in aero efficiency compared to the Z4.

      • Stevenheing

        August 17, 2016 at 3:35 pm

        The m3 gt2 claimed gte pole position in Le Mans in 2010

  3. PhilH

    July 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Not really a surprise to see BMW expanding their GTE program to the WEC. They’ve said numerous times they need a worldwide platform to compliment the DTM and IMSA. GT3 is largely customer focused.

    2017 should be the year Corvette enter WEC GTE-Pro too, probably via Larbre.

  4. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    July 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I’d still rather see the M3/4 being used as that next car.

    • Jack

      July 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      M2.

    • Kris

      July 13, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      Agreed. M6 looks nice but also looks like a limo compared to the vette it was chasing all day at ctmp. M3/M4 would “look right” with the vette, ferrai, porsche, gt.

      • NaBUru38

        July 14, 2016 at 4:41 pm

        The new Z4? A reborn Z8?

  5. Jenner

    July 13, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Again, NASCAR gotta have their own rules here in the US.

    Looks like BMW is gonna be a lame duck season in 2017 if IMSA doesn’t conform to GTE regs. I guess Le Mans does mean something to BMW.

    • :)

      July 13, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Le Mans = yawn…

      • Jenner

        July 13, 2016 at 2:25 pm

        Yep, Ford wins Le Mans = Yawn…

    • 996corsa

      July 13, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      BTW, it was BMW who didn’t want to build a true GTE spec car. As Marquardt said, BMW had counted on GT convergence succeeding, when it didn’t they were left out in the cold for a GTE compatible car from their perspective. At least “NASCAR” gave BMW a place to run what they did build.
      I’m not sure how you can say IMSA has their own rules, either. IMSA’s GTLM class obviously conforms largely to GTE spec, there were 5 IMSA GTLM teams at LeMans this year in GTE-Pro, 7 if you count the full-factory Porsches. Although those were run by Manthey, so not really the IMSA team cars, just the drivers. I’m sure IMSA would prefer if the GTE spec would cover all of their GTLM teams, as if the BOP process isn’t hard enough already!

      • Andy Flinn

        July 13, 2016 at 10:49 pm

        Be honest, aside from the tech geeks and ACO/WEC sycophants, does anyone here really care that the current BMW IMSA GLM car isn’t a “true GTE-spec” car?

        BMW hasn’t contested Le Mans since 2011…

        It sounds like most of BMW’s plan moving forward depend on what results from the renewed convergence talks.

        On thing seems to be certain: Whatever the car ends up being, BMW will continue to race in the IMSA WTSC.

    • Amlv20

      July 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      WTF are you talking about?? Imsa GTLM is based on GTE regs,Imsa just uses their own bop.all gtlm cars have to be homoligated by the aco as gte cars first.the bmw m6 is homoligated by the aco as an ImSA spectical and not allowed to race in any aco sanctioned events…this has NOTHING to do with NASCAR.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 13, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Jenner, did you read the article. IMSA is simply accommodating BMW by allowing them to race their M6 in GTLM. If you MUST blame someone, blame the manufacturer for not building a car suitable to global GTE regulations.

      • Andy Flinn

        July 13, 2016 at 10:57 pm

        I apologize for the grammar and punctuation errors. I wish this board had an edit feature like that other popular sports car racing message board.

  6. P

    July 14, 2016 at 7:32 am

    GTE-Pro Entry List:

    Aston Martin Racing- Aston Martin Vantage GTE
    AF Corse- Ferrari 488 GTE
    Corvette Racing- Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
    BMW Motorsport- BMW M6 GTE
    BMW Team RLL- BMW M6 GTE
    Porsche Motorsport- Porsche 911 RSR
    Ford Performance- Ford GT

  7. Matt

    July 14, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Are they gonna take the mufflers off this time or…?

    • Babe

      July 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      The GTLM car has no mufflers already.

    • rennsport4.4tV8

      July 15, 2016 at 12:47 am

      The other guy is correct. The GTLM and GT3 M6’s have different exhausts.

  8. Pierre

    July 14, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Wonder if RLL will field 4 cars like Ginassi or will there be a new BMW Team alongside RLL and the BMW team heads to LM24

    • 7D3

      July 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      High possibility that New BMW European team will go to the LM24 will the M6 along with Team RLL.

      No way BMW will have 4 cars in 1 team like Ganassi.

      BMW Team RLL- BMW M6 GTE- (2 Cars)
      BMW Team Schubert- BMW M6 GTE- (2 Cars)

    • Jl Ros

      July 29, 2016 at 9:55 am

      I hope RLL has nothing to do with it, that team just doesn’t have what it takes to win consistently. They make too many mistakes, theyqualify well, run well in beginning at fade at end.

  9. rennsport4.4tV8

    July 15, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Sounds sweet. If the next 4th generation 6 keeps a twin turbo V8 it should be cool.

  10. RSBro

    August 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    It’s about damn time. Merc is making the most technical sport in the world (F1) look like child’s play and Audi is well, Audi when it comes to endurance racing at the top level.
    BMW plays also-rans in IMSA and DTM doesn’t really count since all the German marques are there already.

    They sell enough cars, have enough money, and have decent race history. Not sure why they have waited so long to return to a global GTE platform in WEC. IMSA is cute for when WEC is off but it’s not comparable from an enjoyment standpoint for me.

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