For the BMW community, seeing the return of BMW Motorsport to the 24 Heures du Mans this year was a dream come true. On the ground, the excitement and support for BMW was overwhelming, with one of the strongest fanbases and quite possibly the most crowd-wielded flags.
But as hindsight will tell us, the M8s had a challenging debut by the end of the race, with the #82 car retiring early thanks to an intimate contact with a wall, and #81 battling various repairs for a twelfth-place finish in the LMGTE Pro class.
The ultimate victors were, to no one’s surprise, Toyota in the prototype class and Porsche in the GT field—but the BMW team might be getting the most publicity post-race thanks to the Internet’s ability to blow any amusing image out of proportion.
In this case, it’s of course the “Big M8” meme that has taken automotive Facebook pages by storm.
Big M8 was spawned by the minor contact of one of the Chip Ganassi Ford GT racers and the #81 M8 GTE (seen in the lead photo). Eagle-eyed fans immediately noticed how bizarrely oversized the grand-tourer M8 looked next to the slim, supercar-bodied Ford.
Naturally, a couple of these fans decided to, um, expand on the size difference with some quick-and-dirty Photoshop work. The idea really ran amok after the checkered flag, with the community jumping in to provide renderings of what the size difference really felt like.
Soon, the mythical Big M8 broke free of its race-track chains and took its bigness elsewhere.
Realistically speaking, the M8 GTE should, with proper Balance Of Performance rules, remain competitive (and potentially dominant) in its WEC classes. But until the governing bodies of IMSA and the FIA determine a BOP setup that allows for a competitive car, the community will have to create its own places for the Big M8 to race.—David Rose