BMW M Motorsport has been busy testing the M Hybrid V8 at European race tracks before it moves to the US to start testing in September. A number of BMW Motorsport drivers have driven the car, including Connor De Phillippi, Sheldon van der Linde, Marco Wittmann, Augusto Farfus, Nick Yelloly, and Philipp Eng. BMW Junior Team drivers Dan Harper, Max Hesse, and Neil Verhagen have also tested the LMDh car, as has new hire René Rast. The most recent testing took place at the Aragon and Catalunya circuits in Spain.
Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos has been happy with the way testing has gone. “The first weeks of testing with the BMW M Hybrid V8 went well,” he said. “We have completed a lot of kilometers, during which we uncovered the first weaknesses, which are totally normal with a new car, and have solved some of them already. Furthermore, it was important to get feedback from as many drivers as possible, in order to get a good early impression of how our prototype handles. Their response has been very positive in this early stage–everyone is impressed by the potential that our LMDh car is already showing. That will follow in the coming months. We laid a good foundation during the tests in Europe. Now we enter the next development stage in the USA.”
During testing in Italy and Spain, the focus was on system check and initial performance-related issues. The new racer has been tested in hot and dry conditions, as well as in the rain and at night, when drivers were able to experience the lighting components on the car or the first time. Thankfully, there have been no major issues with the car, just teething troubles which are typical for a completely new race car. Starting this month, the testing of the car will continue with BMW Team RLL at tracks in the US to focus primarily on performance and reliability in preparation for its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January. The race livery will be presented in Los Angeles on September 22nd. —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy BMW]