BMW is undecided on whether it will run parallel factory LMDh and GTD Pro programs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2023 although has signaled intentions to enter IMSA’s new GT3-based class next year.
The German manufacturer, which confirmed earlier this month a two-car factory LMDh program beginning in 2023, is currently “trying to do” a GTD Pro program in 2022 as a works effort with the new BMW M4 GT3 according to BMW M Motorsport boss Mike Krack.
“In 2022 we’re trying to do GTD Pro,” he said. “In 2023 we’ll be in LMDh. If we would also be in GTD or GTD Pro I cannot say at the moment.
“This has not really been a big focus. But in any case next year we’re trying to do GTD Pro because we have this new car that we also want to show.
“The LMDh program has been confirmed. These two things we’re trying to do. But any parallel activities we don’t have on the radar at the moment.”
Krack confirmed should BMW commit to GTD Pro next year, it would be in a full factory effort, similar to its existing level of participation in the soon-to-be-defunct GT Le Mans class with the Team RLL-run BMW M8 GTEs.
A factory GTD Pro effort, however, could only end up lasting one season prior to its debut in LMDh in 2023.
“That’s the basic idea of GTD Pro,” Krack said, referencing the notion of factory teams in the class.
“We will not race our customers. We have always said that. If we do Pro we will not do it with [factory] support. It would be a more [full] factory approach.”
No Decision on Customer LMDh Cars
When asked if BMW will supply its LMDh cars to customers, Krack said that a decision has also not yet been taken, although reiterated the fact that its factory teams generally don’t race against its customers.
“Yes this is true,” he said. “We have not yet said we will do LMDh forever with the factory approach.
“If you see a GTD Pro factory [program], then customer, or in parallel because it’s a different class, the same could apply to LMDh on the customer side.
“We do not want to do too much because of the tight time schedule so it’s better to do a little bit less and not get distracted too much.
“There are some plans with options and we have not yet decided on them. If we see, for example, how this develops, we want to keep the flexibility to offer it.
“But if we see it doesn’t help us or we get too much distractions, we would rather be a bit more conservative.
“I understand that [the competition] does multi-continent and multi customers but they also probably have a different structure behind.
“We want to only do what we are able to do. We have to see how it’s going to develop and then we will adjust.”
Mid-2022 LMDh Rollout Targeted
Krack said a mid-2022 rollout of its LMDh car has been targeted ahead of its debut in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
An engine and chassis constructor has already been chosen with BMW currently in talks with teams, which are believed to include both longtime IMSA partner Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and current Formula E entrant Andretti Autosport.
Krack told Sportscar365 that announcements will be made over the next six months on all key areas of the program.
“If you have confirmation of a program at this stage you won’t be able to have the car on track at the same point than a competitor who has announced this a year earlier almost,” said Krack, in reference to Porsche’s planned end-of-year rollout.
“We have a plan in place. I think we’ll be tight but I think it’s still possible. So we’ll try to be on track by mid-year next year.
“This would leave not ideally what we’d want to have. But I think it’s still sufficient [time] because we do not want to do testing in Europe, testing in the U.S., testing with customers, etc.
“I think our focused approach will help us to recover a bit of time you would lose if you do two programs or different teams or customers.”
When asked by Sportscar365 if BMW could enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023, Krack said it’s “too early to say.”
“The program is centered around the IMSA championship because we want to have this for our biggest M market, which is the U.S,” he said.
“This is the primary focus and the main reason we decided to go IMSA.”