German carmaker BMW has announced its revised motorsports program which signals its return to an old hunting ground and an entry into a new, cleaner form of racing.
The most important news from the announcement is the return of the Bavarian marque to Le Mans in 2018. BMW will also join fledgling electric racing series Formula E.
BMW were last seen at Le Mans in 2011 when they participated in the LM GTE class and it picked up its only overall win at the legendary French race in 1999 with the BMW V12 LMR.BMW hasn't specified anything about the vehicles it will be using but the German carmaker's Motorsports division will take part in the entire World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar when it returns in 2018.
Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt said BMW's return to Le Mans is something the company is particularly looking forward to. He said, "The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing."
BMW will also enter Formula E with the Andretti Formula E team. The tie-up will see cooperation at engineer level and the mutual use of resources.
BMW are using the Andretti partnership to test an eventual works entry into the fifth season of the electric car racing series in 2018/19 season.
Klaus Frölich a member of BMW's board of management said, "Electric mobility will continue to grow in importance. In the last 10 years, we have established a leading position in the automobile industry in this field with BMW i.Through our partnership with Andretti Formula E in the Formula E Championship, we will now additionally see a close interaction between motor racing and production development in our company, from which both departments will benefit."
BMW will continue to race in DTM, IMSA while the Mini brand will continue with its participation in the grueling Dakar Rally. BMW will also keep on supporting cutomer teams in GT3 and GT4 racing and will add the M4 GT4 to its customer car lineup.