Frankfurt 2017: BMW unleashes M8 GTE as WEC challenger

BMW M8 GTE Frankfurt 02 830x553

BMW M8 GTE Frankfurt 02 830x553

As its name suggests, the BMW M8 GTE will officially race in the GTE Pro division beginning next year's season of the FIA World Endurance Cup (WEC) and marking BMW's return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It's the racing version of the upcoming BMW M8 road auto, giving us several hints as to what it'll look like when it's unveiled at the LA motor show in December. We have a feeling however, they won't. Boo.

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The sloping rear roofline gives the grand tourer a sleek appearance, with what appears to be space for a 2+2 setup in the production vehicle. However, we know the roof line and design of the front and rear lights will be carried over.

Under the hood of the M8 GTE is a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 that's restricted to approximately 500 horsepower, depending on what class the car's racing in. It's good for a base output of 493bhp, and is hooked up to a six-speed sequential racing gearbox.

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The M8's design is centred on the classic long-bonnet coupe silhouette, with enough room up front to mid-mount the twin-turbo V8 unit used in the race vehicle. Through the extensive use of CFRP components, the M8 GTE weighs only 1,220 kilograms. Presumably, the aero kit will have to be changed out for something a little subtler, but BMW claims there's a close relationship between the M8 and the M8 GTE. Just check out the wing mirrors, too.

It's not the "8" we'll see on the street, but the M8 GTE program has run parallel with the road car's development and more accurately portrays the production model than the 8-Series concept we saw earlier in the year. But before you can buy either the regular 8 Series or the M8, you'll get to see BMW return to the World Endurance Championship with the M8 GTE race vehicle. Not a bad thing.

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Yes, that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We can't wait for the M8 GTE to hit the track. Unlike its road-going cousins, though, the M8 GTE is built entirely by hand.

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