The 2023 racing season promises to be very exciting for BMW racing fans. The M4 GT3 will be in its second year of competition, there will be a new M4 GT4, and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will begin a new era of top-level racing with the LMDh prototypes in the GTP class. After months of concept drawings and studio photos, we’re finally starting to see some of the LMDh cars out on the track testing, and BMW Motorsport has also been busy preparing for a pair of entries from BMW Team RLL in 2023.
BMW Motorsport has primarily been focused on getting the engine right in LMDh testing thus far. The P66/3 eight-cylinder engine in their new LMDh car (called the M Hybrid V8) is based on the engine used in the M4 DTM in the 2017-2018 seasons and the first fire-up of the complete driveline, with added turbochargers and the electric motor, inverter and battery, took place a few weeks ago.
Frankly, BMW is a bit behind the eight-ball in the LMDh development phase compared to rivals. Porsche and Cadillac have both already been out testing with complete cars on race tracks in the US. Porsche has been testing their car (called the 963) on track since the spring, and both Porsche and Cadillac were at Sebring testing in mid-June. Porsche has already announced eight works drivers who will be competing in the 963 next year and announced that privateer team JDC Motorsport will be running the car in IMSA next year in addition to the Penske factory-backed team.
Acura was also planning to complete the first shakedown runs of their LMDh car in France this past weekend and will have LMDh cars (called the ARX-06) in the IMSA GTP class next year campaigned by Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank racing, who are both running Acura DPi prototypes in IMSA this season. BMW Motorsport expects the first rollout of the M Hybrid V8 LMDh car on a track to take place in Italy at the end of July with extensive testing to begin immediately after that. There’s a lot of work to do before an expected debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January 2023. —David Haueter
[Photos by BMW, Porsche, Cadillac]