Ever since GT1 & GT2 ceased to become a thing back in ’09, GT Endurance cars have been getting smaller and smaller. Where DBR9s, MC12s and Murcielagos once reigned supreme, Vantages, Huracans and smaller Ferraris now headline the most prominent endurance races in the world.
Of course, this seemed like a pretty natural progression. Motorsport is increasingly becoming a contest of efficiency, across the board, from the V6 Engines now found in Formula 1 all the way through to the next generation of World Rally cars. Smaller, cheaper cars that can deliver the same amount of excitement for racers and viewers alike are inherently favoured.
So when BMW first came out with their M6 GT3 car in late 2015, the racing world got a little bit of a shock. This was a car that went against the way GT3 cars were going, BMW favouring their biggest, heaviest performance car over the M3, M4 and even the M5 to lead its charge into endurance motorsport.
Now though, they’ve gone a step further, unveiling the M8 GTE which set to debut at next year’s 24 Hours of Daytona. And just look at the thing. It’s bloody massive.
The M8 GTE first surfaced back in January, spotted testing at Catalunya that month, but at last week’s Frankfurt Motorshow BMW unveiled their first official renderings of how they expect their new challenger to look. It also paints a rough picture,
The road-going M8 is the larger successor to the M6, meaning the M8 GTE is a natural progression, but in order to comply with regulations, it boasts a smaller 4.0L twin-turbo V8, detuned to meet the 500hp limit set by the FIA. It’s also rear wheel drive and limited to a 6-speed sequential gearbox to meet its competitors as closely as possible. In contrast, the road-going M8 is set to pack a 4.4L Twin Turbo V8, capable of sending over 600 horses to the wheels through an AWD system, along with an 8-speed automatic sourced from ZF.
Of course a great deal of the GTEs potency comes in its aero, with a combination of 3D printing, high-tech materials and weight-saving meaning the GTE weighs just 1200kg, which is frankly insane given its size.
BMW hope the M8 GTE will make its racing debut at Daytona in January next year, ahead of taking part in the 2018 World Endurance Championships and IMSA SportsCar Championships at the same time.
“For us, the presentation of the uncamouflaged car at the IAA is the next important step on the road to our first race outing, which we plan to be the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2018,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are a top competitive environment for our new challenger.
“With the BMW M8 GTE, we are bringing cutting-edge technology to the top international class of GT racing, whilst at the same time tying in with our tradition at Le Mans.
“The development of the BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we can hardly wait to see the car challenging for victories in 2018.”