Team WRT is gearing up for its first tests with the BMW M Hybrid V8 ahead of its factory program in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class next year.
The Belgian squad is planning to start testing the German manufacturer’s Dallara-chassied LMDh car within the next two months, alongside its active two-car WEC LMP2 entry.
During last week’s season-opening round at Sebring, team principal Vincent Vosse told Sportscar365 that WRT would start building up its first LMDh car imminently.
That work is being carried out in cooperation with BMW M Motorsport at the manufacturer’s Munich headquarters.
Preparations for the Hypercar program are occurring alongside testing for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season where WRT is running a new fleet of BMW M4 GT3s.
WRT switched to BMW following the cancellation of Audi’s planned LMDh program, which was originally due to make its race debut this year.
“We will start [LMDh] testing quite soon, in May,” said Vosse.
“There are regulations about how many tests you can do and how you have to do it. We have a plan about [doing] some testing.
“BMW will share it when they want to do it; I’m not able to say where or when. But we will do enough testing to get ready.
“Taking into consideration that we are also doing WEC at the same time, we would not be able to do more. It will be enough to get ready.”
WRT is on-schedule with its LMDh testing plans, considering Vosse told Sportscar365 in November that the aim was to roll the car out during the “second quarter” of 2023.
Following the end of last year’s WEC campaign, WRT installed some of its prototype program staff in the U.S. to work alongside BMW M Team RLL and generate some understanding about the car before WEC-focused testing begins.
The Team RLL factory squad gave the BMW M Hybrid V8 its race debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and then achieved its first podium with the car in last weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Testing of the LMDh started in Europe, with the first shakedown taking place at Varano last August, however BMW shifted its focus to North America after the summer to concentrate on getting ready for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“When Bahrain was over, we had a few people in the U.S,” said Vosse.
“We had a few team guys from the LMP team who were in Daytona and in the preparation of Daytona, to support the American team RLL.
“We had a lot of meetings. Of course, we are not jumping into the unknown, but it’s something for us and we will have to adapt to a new program.”