Similar chassis. Different engines. Both are pure M.
This past week, BMW rolled out its M8 GTE for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Daytona and if you strip away its unique livery and racing components, you’re looking at the upcoming M8 road car. Two M8 GTEs will be taking part in the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona, the next milestone in “Mission8.” Not only is BMW in it to win, but it’s also using these endurance races as further development tools for the M8 itself. And speaking of endurance racing, the M8 GTE will also be taking part in the most grueling of them all in June, Le Mans.
What’s also interesting is that the M8 GTE represents the first time in BMW Motorsport history when a race car will be in action before its series counterpart. Obviously that will come in handy as the final touches are being applied to the road-going version, and the M8 GTE itself will be undergoing adjustments throughout the racing season. “After the car has been homologated, there are some areas in which we can, and may, make changes. We can still do some work on the software, in particular,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “We will also continue to work on aligning the BMW M8 GTE with all its systems, and will integrate all the reference values we have acquired.
First of all, however, we are looking forward to the maiden race in Daytona.” Marquardt also noted how his racing team worked with M8 development team numerous times. We synchronized the focus of our development with the core areas of the production model,” he said. “The question was: what should the racing car emanate and embody? The core values of the BMW 8 Series Coupe should also be the strength of the BMW M8 GTE.” One of the key differences between the two, however, is the engine, which had to be significantly modified for racing purposes. Some aspects of the exterior design are notably different, but the roof line is the same.
The BMW 8 Series is expected to debut this March at Geneva, and it’s certainly possible the M8 will debut there as well. If not, a summertime unveiling, just prior to Le Mans, is the likely alternative. BMW already promised a debut sometime in 2018, so hold on to your hats because an instant icon could soon be upon us.