Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde Get Behind the Wheel of the BMW M Hybrid V8
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The BMW M Hybrid V8, set to compete in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting in January, turned its first on-track laps Monday at the Dallara test track in Italy.
BMW M works drivers Connor De Phillippi and Sheldon van der Linde took turns at the wheel of the LMDh platform car in the rollout at Varano de Melegari. Testing was expected to continue this week.
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to complete the first laps of the BMW M Hybrid V8,” said De Phillippi, a five-time WeatherTech Championship race winner driving BMWs in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) competition. “This was a historic day for BMW M Motorsport within the LMDh project. Step by step, we went through all functions of the car and by the end of the day we were able to do some laps with nearly full power, which is a good result for a rollout. A huge thank you to everybody working so hard for this project at BMW M Motorsport, BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Team RMG and Dallara!”
BMW M Team RLL has been designated as the team to operate the WeatherTech Championship GTP program next season, but drivers have yet to be named. BMW M Motorsport also announced Tuesday its intent to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class beginning in 2024.
“We took the next important step on Monday,” Andreas Roos, head of BMW M Motorsport, said of the first test day. “The car successfully completed its rollout at Dallara in Varano de Melegari. We now start the intensive test work before the race debut in January 2023 at Daytona.”
Testing of the BMW M Hybrid V8 will continue in Europe through August before relocation to the United States in September. An IMSA-sanctioned test for new GTP cars is scheduled at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in early October, with a mandatory sanctioned test slated for December at Daytona International Speedway. BMW, Acura, Cadillac and Porsche are developing LMDh cars for the class in 2023, with Lamborghini joining in 2024.