BMW has emerged as one of the latest manufacturers to have continued evaluations of LMDh, with the German automaker “carefully looking” at the global platform according to its soon-to-be-appointed motorsport director.
The development comes in the wake of what Sportscar365 believes to be up to three brands that are nearing final approvals to join the ever-growing list of manufacturers for the 2023 launch year.
While having placed a focus on touring car, GT and all-electric racing in recent years, BMW’s soon-to-be exit from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and end of factory-backed Class One regulations in DTM has left the Bavarian manufacturer without a global factory motorsports program for 2022 and beyond.
According to Mike Krack, the current head of race and test engineering operations who will take over as the new motorsport director on April 1, LMDh is among the possible options for BMW.
“We are part of the [discussions],” Krack told Sportscar365. “We’re looking and are doing studies and are interested. We think it’s a very good regulation.
“With today’s budgets you can go for overall [wins], which is very appealing.
“We were always in discussion about DPi 2.0 already years ago with IMSA. There, I thought it was a very good approach.
“Everybody knows we’re looking at it the way others are looking at it as well.
“Some have committed further than we have but it is also a bit of our philosophy not to announce every little move we are doing. We’re normally a bit more conservative.
“We’re looking and are presenting it to management and we’ll see what happens.”
Krack did not give an exact timeline for a decision but suggested that a number of options are being weighed up.
It includes a possible debut in time for the launch year in 2023, which would come one year after the customer rollout of its new M4 GT3 car.
“We look at what would be the implication to go from the start and what would be the advantage or disadvantage to go later,” Krack said.
“There is a whole big matrix of possibilities in terms of scaling.
“You have to look at what opportunities that you can do with these cars and where you can participate with which timeframe and how many cars, customer/ factory-supported, etc.
“It’s a big matrix. Ideally we provide the board with [options].”
Despite having had three factory programs operating simultaneously in the past with the M8 GTE, DTM and Formula E, Krack indicated that tighter budgets could come into play for its future motorsports decisions.
“From a brand like BMW you would expect participation in one of the top classes. This is clear,” he said.
“It’s always a shame you have all of these brands like Ferrari and Corvette and us not fighting for overall [wins].
“With LMDh, there is that possibility so we need to look at it. But we should also not forget that the world around us is changing.
“We did a lot in the past with a lot of very, very expensive programs. I think we need to look at where we spend much more carefully.
“The available expenditure is less so you have to really carefully evaluate what you’re going to do and what we have available.”
When asked if BMW has ruled out building a car to the Le Mans Hypercar regulations, Krack said they’re “more interested” in LMDh because of its cost effectiveness.
“We are carefully looking at this and I think it’s more sustainable than LMH,” he added.
In addition to BMW, Sportscar365 understands that board-level decisions are pending from GM and another undisclosed manufacturer currently involved in LMDh discussions.
It would bring the number of manufacturers to six, alongside the already confirmed Acura, Audi and Porsche.