The engine is now officially alive.
BMW has begun testing the BMW M Hybrid V8, the name of the brand's WEC Hypercar Class entrant that BMW will take back to Le Mans. At the heart of the hypercar sits a hybrid V8 engine, and this is no ordinary V8 like the one you'd find in the BMW M5 CS.
BMW has ready fired up the engine, which was based on the DTM engine used in the BMW M4 DTM car between 2017 and 2018. Of course, the engine, which BMW has dubbed the P66/3, needed quite a lot of adjustment to be fit to run in the world's most famous endurance race.
One of the biggest adjustments is that the engine is now a load-bearing component. That means the motor is not only needed to power the car, but also to keep the car from rattling itself apart. That also saves weight, as it can be used in a monocoque chassis without an additional subframe. As an aside, BMW also considered the four-cylinder turbo from another M4 DTM car and the V8 turbo from the BMW M8 GTE car.
"It is a huge plus that we were able to make use of existing materials such as steel and aluminum from BMW's time in Formula 1 for the basis of the engine, as well as for individual components - like shafts, housing, and small parts. That saved us time and a lot of money and was therefore efficient and sustainable. Efficiency is a critical factor for this project, as we have a very short period of time available between getting started and the first racing appearance at Daytona in 2023," said Ulrich Schulz, Head of Drivetrain Design at BMW M Motorsport.
Multiple revisions were run through before BMW finalized this 640-hp/479 lb-ft of torque engine. The focus was on durability, increased performance, and temp management. The P66/3 was painstakingly assembled after much trial and error. The cylinder block and heads were recast at BMW's foundry in Landshut and the injection system was redone for direct injection. BMW also used its Formula E know-how to integrate the required electric motor.
For the first time at the end of June, the two drive components (the gas engine and the electric motor) were joined. BMW says the fire-up was a success. At the end of this month, testing will begin after a rollout in Varano de Melegari. We can't wait to hear the latest of the Le Mans Hypercars on track.