Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will continue operating BMW’s factory program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, in the debut of the German manufacturer’s new BMW M8 GTE.
The 2018 season will mark BMW Team RLL’s tenth consecutive year in IMSA competition, in a partnership dating back to the debut BMW M3 GT in the American Le Mans Series in 2009.
BMW Team RLL finished runner-up in the GT Le Mans championship this year, with four class wins, including victory in the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans.
“Coming off one of our most successful years together with BMW, I am very pleased that we will continue to work together in the years to come to gain more victories and championships for BMW,” said team principal Bobby Rahal.
“This has been a tremendous, long-term relationship that started in 2009 and we are very honored and privileged to represent BMW on the race tracks of North America.
“An enhanced RLL organization for 2018 will no doubt help in the development and running of the new BMW M8 GTE, which surely is one of the most exciting new cars of 2018.”
A number of Team RLL mechanics and engineers and technicians are at BMW Motorsport in Munich finishing the construction of the first U.S.-bound chassis, which is expected to arrive at the team’s shop late this month.
BMW Team RLL’s testing program is expected to begin early next month at the IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona.
“The BMW M8 GTE will begin another chapter for BMW Team RLL and we are excited to start testing,” said Victor Leleu, BMW of North America Motorsport Manager.
“Bobby’s team has helped make the M3, Z4 and M6 winners against the best GT competition in the world and we have no doubt that the M8 GTE will follow the same course.
“As evidenced by our four victories with the M6 GTLM this season and especially the Petit Le Mans win, BMW Team RLL – like good wine – gets better with age.”
The team will give the car its competition debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with BMW Team MTEK set to run a pair of M8 GTEs in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Drivers for both programs are expected to be announced at BMW’s end-of-year party on Dec. 15.