Looking like a car that is begging to be tested on the vast concrete expanse of California’s Los Angeles River, the BMW M8 GTE manages to pull off looking muscular yet somehow refined and sleek.
Yes, BMW Motorsport have surprised us with the car that will be entered into the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hour race (as well as the World Endurance Championship) at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
BMW revealed an 8-Series concept at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza earlier this year in Italy. The coupé gave a hint at what BMW said was their determination to make a big splash in the luxury car market with this line. It’s safe to say that we were not expecting the first actual sighting of an 8-Series to be a Skunkworks full-on racing car.
A turbocharged 4-litre V8 engine, with the cylinder head and block taken from the actual forthcoming production car, powers the M8 GTE. It boasts a 6-speed sequential gearbox and racing regulations restrict the car to 500bhp (depending on race classification) – around 115bhp less than the road-going version is likely to have. But don’t be fooled into thinking this race ready version is compromised in any way. The extreme racing bodywork and chassis and the light weight will ensure that this car is no slouch.
The M8 comprises of the usual lightweight design specs, which includes the use of CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic), which will also be on the Series-8 production models.
The M8 GTE is 4980mm in length and 2056mm wide and the cutting edge lightweight technology that has gone in the construction makes it around 80kg lighter than the M6 GT3; BMW Motorsport’s top-of-the-line model since 2016 and the car which won the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours at the first attempt.
BMW started work on the BMW M8 GTE way back in 2016, and 2018 will see the manufacturer enter the Le Mans 24 Hour race for the first time since 2011. Prior to this iconic 24-hour race, the car will also race at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the USA. But before we get too carried away with what’s happening next year, the production version of the Series-8 will be revealed at the Los Angeles Motor Show in December.