What's the news?
BMW's M8 coupe caused quite a stir on the announcement of its existence a few months back, and BMW Motorsport is set to take the big car racing next year. Going straight in at the top level of international GT racing is no easy task, but the M8 GTE will take part in the full 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans event in June.
Having already been rolled out at BMW's Dingolfing plant back in July, the Frankfurt motor show marks the first time that the car has been seen in uncamouflaged form. It's set to make its racing debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona next January, and takes over from the M6 GT3 as BMW Motorsport's premier international challenger.
Regulations ensure that maximum power from the 4.0-litre, turbocharged V8 engine is capped at around 500hp, but the widespread use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic components means that the car weighs just 1,220kg. Drive is through a six-speed, heavy-duty sequential racing gearbox, while new production techniques have been utilised in its design and manufacture.
For example, the traction control system was developed using the help of an artificial intelligence program (we'd love to find out more about that...), while rapid prototyping and 3D printing have helped shorten the turnaround time for getting bespoke parts from design phase to reality, an interesting facet in terms of production methods for future road cars.
The car will battle against GTE versions of the Porsche 911, Aston Martin Vantage and the Ford GT among others, ensuring a very thorough and public test of BMW Motorsport's abilities. The team has form though; its V12 LMR won Le Mans outright back in 1999, and there's no reason why the M8 GTE can't fight for class honours in next year's WEC.