The countdown to the return of BMW M Motorsport to the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) is underway.
Last week, BMW M Team WRT successfully completed the first test drives with the BMW M Hybrid V8. The rollout of the test car for the preparation of the factory entry in the 2024 WEC season took place on May 27th at the BMW Group plant in Dingolfing (GER).
The first metres with the hybrid prototype were covered by a man with extensive experience with the BMW M Hybrid V8.
BMW M works driver Nick Yelloly (GBR) worked with BMW M Motorsport and BMW M Team WRT during the rollout in Dingolfing, bringing his knowledge from the preparation and initial race appearances with the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the North American IMSA series, where the vehicle has already been successful this season.
On Sunday, Yelloly, his teammate Connor De Phillippi (USA), and BMW M Team RLL celebrated the first IMSA win for the BMW M Hybrid V8 at Watkins Glen (USA), having already achieved two more podium finishes in previous 2023 races.
Following the initial functional test, the first test days took place last week at Aragón (ESP). The BMW M Hybrid V8 ran without any problems over three days, allowing the team to collect a wealth of valuable data right from the start.
The BMW M works drivers Jesse Krohn (FIN), Maxime Martin (BEL), Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Dries Vanthoor (BEL) took turns behind the wheel. Over the weekend, another functional test was conducted by the members of the BMW Junior Team and BMW M works drivers Dan Harper (GBR) and Max Hesse (GER).
In the upcoming weeks and months, numerous additional tests will follow as BMW M Team WRT optimally prepares for the start of the FIA WEC season on 2nd March 2024 in Qatar. As many BMW M works drivers as possible will be in the cockpit, providing feedback to the BMW M Motorsport and BMW M Team WRT engineers.
Reactions to the test kickoff:
Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “The past week was a very good start to our WEC preparation programme. The BMW M Hybrid V8 ran smoothly during the first test drives and provided our engineers and the team with the opportunity to gain a wealth of insights right from the start. Many thanks to everyone at BMW M Motorsport in Munich and BMW M Team WRT for making this successful start possible. Of course, the experiences we have gathered together with BMW M Team RLL in the IMSA series races have also contributed to this. At the beginning of the LMDh programme, we deliberately chose to compete exclusively in the IMSA series first and later in the FIA WEC. We are now benefiting from this approach. Although the start was successful, there is still a lot of work to be done on the way to the first races. We are all highly motivated for the work throughout the rest of the year.”
Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “It is a big step and a step that we all have worked very hard for. It is a milestone for the team. Being at Le Mans has always been a goal for the team but being at Le Mans representing a manufacturer like BMW in the top category is a dream come true. And I have the feeling that we have the best manufacturer behind us. And the best group of people – the team. The guys did an excellent job building and preparing the car. The rollout went well and then we had the days of testing without any issues and good feedback. It has been an important first step in the preparation for the 2024 season so I am looking forward to it and I want to say a big thank you to all the guys who are involved in this.”
Jesse Krohn (BMW M works driver): “The test was an incredible experience for me. It was my first outing in a prototype and also my first collaboration with the WRT team. I had high expectations of their working methods because, as an opponent, I have experienced their strength over the years. And I must say that all my expectations were met. The team works together fantastically, and I had perhaps the smoothest test of my career. I quickly found my way in the car and hopefully, I was able to help the team gather important data because that’s what it’s all about in such a first test. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience in this great car and I thank everyone involved for allowing me to contribute to the programme.”