BMW has not ruled out a future LMP1 effort despite its recently confirmed factory entry into the GTE-Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The German manufacturer, which announced last month that it will build an all-new GTE-spec car for its planned return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, will continue to monitor developments in the prototype ranks, although not making any firm commitments, according to BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“It’s two different stories at the end of the day,” Marquardt told Sportscar365. “Garage 56, or anywhere future regulations, it’s something we’re very interested in.
“We’re working closely with the FIA and the ACO in that respect because, for me Le Mans really gives you a platform and potential to get cutting-edge technology involved in racing. In endurance racing, I see a lot of potential.
“For sure we would be interested to be a part of probably the first emission-free, long-distance racing in the world.”
It’s understood a proposal for a LMP1 program, rumored to be in the range of $450 million, for development of the car and its first year of operation, was shot down by the board earlier this year.
However, with new technologies, including hydrogen fuel cell, on the horizon in the class, Marquardt said it remains an attractive option for the future.
He admitted such a program could begin as a Garage 56 effort, although he would not put a specific timeframe to it.
“It could be like that,” Marquardt said. “But also I think in regards to the regulations evolutions that the ACO has announced this year, that they would consult with the manufacturers and work on that, it’s dependent on what time frames you’re talking about.
“There’s new [LMP1] regulations from  onwards. That’s probably a little bit early, but second generation in 2021 or 2022… I think it’s going to be very interesting. But that’s obviously down the road.”