This is big news: BMW hasn’t fielded a car in the premier class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1999, when it captured the overall victory in the French endurance classic. A year after debuting the car and its V-8 hybrid powertrain in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on these shores, the corps from Bavaria has announced it will contest both Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship beginning in 2024. The first prototype chassis with the V-8 hybrid powertrain turned its initial test laps this week at the Dallara test track in Italy.
BMW’s performance partner in the U.S. is Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which took part in the Dallara test and will be doing more work stateside before the engine and chassis concept makes its debut next February during the Rolex 24 at Daytona. For those of us who remember the 3.0 CSL “Batmobiles” that uncorked their thunder at Le Mans and elsewhere during the 1970s, this is a welcome happening indeed.