BMW unveils 2023 IMSA drivers, final LMDh race design

They will be joined in the four Michelin Endurance Cup events by seven-time IndyCar race winner Colton Herta, with more drivers for the long-distance races to be announced at a later date.

De Phillippi and Yelloly will share one of the two BMW M Hybrid V8 entries, while the other factory car will be driven by Eng and Farfus.

BMW’s two LMDh machines will wear #24 and #25, the same numbers it has used for its GT effort in IMSA, but they have not been assigned the two driver pairings yet.

Of the four full-season drivers, Phillippi has the most IMSA experience having been a mainstay in the BMW M8 GTE program from 2018-21. He is also part of BMW’s sole full-year entry for 2022, sharing the #25 M4 GT3 in the GTD Pro class with compatriot John Edwards.

Phillippi’s stablemates Yelloly, Eng and Farfus also have previous racing experience in IMSA, with the trio most recently joining the factory team in the Rolex 24 and Sebring earlier this year. Farfus later returned to IMSA for the Watkins Glen enduro in June, joining Phillippi and Edwards as the third driver in the crew.

Farfus and Eng also made select appearances during BMW’s only campaign in the WEC in 2018/19 with the now discontinued M8 GTE.

Other drivers who have tested the BMW M Hybrid V8 but were absent from the announcement include two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann, current DTM points leader Sheldon van der Linde and new star signing Rene Rast. All three could potentially join BMW’s LMDh program when it expands to the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship in 2024.

BMW began testing the LMDh car in the United States last week at Sebring after completing initial drives in Europe. The LMDh machine, which features a turbocharged V8 engine that previously raced in the DTM in naturally aspirated form, will be shown to the public at the IMSA finale at Petit Le Mans on October 1.

The final color revealed

BMW M Hybrid V8 coating

BMW M Hybrid V8 coating

Photo by: BMW

BMW also unveiled the final color scheme for its LMDh contender at a special event at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday evening, after conducting all tests of the car in a camouflage coating.

Designed by BMW Group Designworks, it features the famous colors of the BMW M division and a lighting system around the ‘kidney’ grille.

Most of the black areas that are part of the color will remain in their original carbon fiber finish, which BMW estimates will allow the manufacturer to save 20-30% in weight compared to a traditional paint job.

The launch event in LA was attended by BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel, Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos, IMSA President John Doonan, and Team RLL owners Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Patrick Lanigan.

RLL has been appointed BMW’s official factory partner for its IMSA programme, continuing a partnership that began more than ten years ago.

The upcoming factory assault on the WEC in 2024 will be fronted by current Audi GT team WRT.

BMW M Hybrid V8 coating

BMW M Hybrid V8 coating

Photo by: BMW

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