BMW to Return to Le Mans 24 Hours and WEC in 2018
BMW is to mount a full-scale assault on the GTE Pro class of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) which will see it return to the classic 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018. This will be the first time BMW has competed in the WEC, and will also herald a return to Le Mans for the first time since 2011 – good news for die-hard BMW Motorsport fans the world over.
According to various reports, the BMW M6 GT LM, which has competed with success in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, is likely to be replaced with a GTE-spec car. This makes it eligible for both IMSA and the WEC, expanding BMW’s motorsport horizons significantly.
BMW Motorsport Director, Jens Marquardt, said; “Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing.”
The move into WEC is part of what BMW is calling a ‘strategic realignment’ of its motorsport programme, and also includes entry into the GT4 class with a BMW M4 GT4.
This news makes it fairly evident as to where BMW sees its Motorsports programme heading. GT racing is booming the world over, with manufacturers such as Ford, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Porsche directing their considerable motorsports budget into it. Rather than aiming for the F1 circuit, through which there is far less brand alignment to most brand fans or car buyers, GT racing makes a better compromise whilst also allowing manufacturers, such as BMW, to demonstrate their excellence in motor racing. BMW will also continue in the DTM and aid the Andretti Formula E team in its endeavours.
As far as we’re concerned, BMW’s entry into WEC and return to Le Mans is nothing but good news.