BMW is aiming to continue its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship presence next year in the newly announced GTD Pro class, which the German manufacturer has described as “very appealing” for a possible factory or works-supported effort.
The German manufacturer, which has been present in factory IMSA GT competition since 2009, could return to full-time competition in 2022 under the new GT3-based class the sanctioning body announced in January that will replace the GT Le Mans category.
According to Mike Krack, the current head of race and test engineering operations for BMW Motorsport, who will take over as the new global motorsport director on April 1, BMW is “working” on having a presence in the class for its launch season.
“It’s very appealing,” Krack told Sportscar365. “We are participating in all of the discussions.
“What’s good is that IMSA is listening. IMSA is always listening to the partners, the teams, the manufacturers.
“I wish other organizations or promoters would listen to their customers the way IMSA does. They have quite a sustainable model. The grid is full; the TV [package] is good.
“It’s good they do GTD Pro and keep the customer class. I think it’s also good not to mix them.”
While IMSA has stated that it plans to keep GTD Pro within the same GT3-based regulations as GTD, a decision on whether the Pro class would feature Michelin’s ‘confidential’ tires apparently has not yet been made.
Krack said BMW, like fellow German manufacturer Porsche, is in favor of having the same commercial tire specification across both classes on the grounds of costs.
BMW would also be in favor of allowing Chevrolet to run a modified version of its GTE-spec Corvette C8.R in the class next year, which GM has been petitioning for in recent talks with IMSA.
The sanctioning body previously gave BMW a form of national homologation for its M6 GT3 car to run in the GTLM class for two seasons.
“We do [support it] because we are all racers and we want to race,” Krack said. “I think it would be completely wrong to try and push this car out if Corvette wants to race.
“We trust IMSA that they would balance this correctly. Part of the discussion is not only the Corvette but also making it easy for GTD teams to step up to Pro or bringing cars from other series like SRO.
“We should not put any obstacles like getting a bad BoP or an entrance ballast or any kind of prevention in order to have a bigger grid.
“We are always in exchange with Corvette. On the race track we’re big competitors but when it comes to the interest of Pro and Am or GTD and GT racing in general, we talk and we try to be constructive.”
Krack said a final decision on BMW’s participation and the scope of its program would come later this year.
BMW M8 GTE Set for Final Outing at Petit Le Mans
The BMW M8 GTE will bow out in November’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans, with Krack confirming no future plans for the car beyond this year.
BMW Team RLL is running a reduced four-race Michelin Endurance Cup-only program this season, with no chance of additional races.
Having debuted in 2018, the M8 GTE is a two-time Rolex 24 at Daytona class winner with BMW Team RLL and also took part in a season of the FIA World Endurance Championship with the MTEK squad.
“IMSA is not having a GTE class anymore and we’re not planning to go somewhere else, so it’s the end for the M8,” Krack said.
“It’s also reflecting the current times. The GTE or [DTM/Super GT] Class One programs are just too expensive. We had both plus Formula E. It’s substantial budgets.
“It’s like natural selection with the classes disappearing.”
Krack confirmed the long-believed discussions between IMSA and the ACO that were aimed to bring the remaining active GTE-spec cars together for a series of races around the key WeatherTech Championship and WEC events.
“We were in discussion a lot with IMSA before this season, trying to do something together with ACO to bring them together, so we could race at least with 4-5 brands, because it’s dying on the other side too,” he said.
“It’s a shame we didn’t manage to do something better than we have now.
“Now [WEC] has four cars; [IMSA] has five. When we’re not there, there’s only two or three. It’s not nice.”