BMW considering LMDh, Electric GT as post-Formula E options

LMDh and the new FIA Electric GT Championship are among the options for BMW as it plots its future in top-level motorsport beyond the end its Formula E programme.

Markus Flasch, who is now in charge of BMW Motorsport as boss of the marque's sporting M brand, has revealed that both the LMDh prototype category and the new-for-2023 eGT series are on its radar.

Flasch stressed that no decisions have been made, but he strongly suggested that BMW will have a factory involvement in motorsport in addition to its customer-led programmes in GT3, GT4 and with its entry-level M2 CS one-make racer.

The German manufacturer will be left without a marquee racing programme on the conclusion of its 2020/21 Formula E Championship assault with BMW Andretti Motorsport.

FE became BMW's only factory campaign after its works involvement in the DTM came to an end on the championship's switch to GT3 rules for 2021.

"I didn't take this responsibility [at BMW Motorsport] to administer the current status," said Flasch.

"I know where we come from, where our roots are, and I think there is room on top of GT3 for BMW. We are looking into other formats than [those] we are currently involved in and there will be decisions quite soon."

Asked by Motorsport.com if the ability to race an LMDh in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023 made it attractive, Flasch replied: "Yes it does. That is part of our analysis, absolutely."

Flasch stated that BMW is "very interested" in the FIA's eGT championship announced last month.

"We have been in discussions with the FIA," he said. "If this series is going to be fast enough, spectacular, then we are going to be in it. [But] we are not pushing just because it is electric: it has to make sense for the fan."

The target for the FIA's new eGT category is to achieve GT3 levels of performance, while the main race each weekend will be of 45 minutes' duration with fast-charging pitstops.

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FIA Electric GT Championship car

FIA Electric GT Championship car

Photo by: FIA

Flasch also appeared to take a swipe at FE.

"There are series in the world that are electric and everyone runs in them, but they never really reached the fans," he said. "We have learned from that: we are not just running after ideas like lemmings."

BMW indicated that the sportscar programme run by its North American arm, which stretches back to the mid-1990s, is likely to continue into 2022 when IMSA replaces its GTE-based GT Le Mans class with GT Daytona Pro for GT3 machinery.

Mike Krack, who is head of BMW Motorsport under Flasch, revealed a desire for the new BMW M4 GT3 scheduled to race for the first time later this month to compete in the new category.

"That would be really good if we could manage to have that, [but] it is little bit too early," he said. "GTD Pro is in creation, so not everything is really defined or completely done.

"We have a long history there [in North American sportscar racing] and it would be strange when you have a new car like the M4 coming not to be present.

Asked if it BMW would aim to run a full-factory team, Krack replied: "Yes, probably similarly to what we have been running in the GTE [GTLM].

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing has run BMW's factory sportscar programme in North America since 2009, initially in the American Le Mans Series and then in the merged IMSA series from 2014.

This year Rahal is only contesting the four long-distance races that make up the Michelin-sponsored Endurance Cup.

Flasch took over responsibility for motorsport at BMW from Jens Marquardt last year.

BMW Motorsport has now been merged with the BMW M GmbH high-performance division of the German manufacturer.

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