BMW will be joining the 2023 season of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the IMSA GTP class with its LMDh prototype – the BMW M Hybrid V8. While the prototype is covered in a vibrant camouflage livery, iconic design elements such as the wide kidney grills, M ‘hook’ mirrors, and tail-lights are there to remain us that this is a signature BMW M car. As the testing phase for the prototype is fast approaching, details of the hybrid drive system has also been revealed.
At the heart of the BMW M Hybrid V8 is the P66/3 eight-cylinder turbo engine with supplementary electric drive. Before settling on using the naturally-aspirated P66/1 eight-cylinder engine (used in the BMW M4 in 2017 and 2018) as the base for the new setup, there were a couple of other options including the P48 four-cylinder turbo engine from the BMW M4 DTM and the P63 eight-cylinder turbo engine from the BMW M8 GTE, but they were eliminated due to durability and weight issues respectively.
The first phase of the engine conversion focused on fitting two turbochargers and adjusting the crank drive of the P66/1 engine to increase durability, performance, and temperature management. The P66/2 had done its job after numerous testing and simulation sessions, and the P66/3 race engine was created after further adjustments and integration with the electric motor.
The 4-litre twin-turbo engine has an output of 640 hp and 650 Nm of torque. Installation and fire-up of the hybrid drive unit on the test vehicle was completed in June, meaning the BMW M Hybrid V8 is ready hit the track for testing at the end of this month.