BMW to bid farewell to WEC motorsport series

BMW’s run in endurance racing lasted just a single season. BMW said Wednesday it will exit the World Endurance Championship series as it makes changes to its motorsports program. That will make the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans this June BMW’s farewell to WEC.

“We will not compete in WEC going forward,” BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, said. “Therefore, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June will be another highlight for us in drawing to a close—just like in 2018, when we celebrated the successful world premiere of the BMW 8 Series Coupe there.”

2018 BMW M8 GTE racecar

2018 BMW M8 GTE racecar

“In light of us sharpening our focus as part of our strategy for the future, continuing our WEC involvement in the coming years does not fit with our direction,” Marquardt added.

That also leaves the BMW M8 GTE dead in the water for world championship racing, though the M8 race car will continue to race in DTM and across Europe and Asia. In North America, the M8 will also tackle the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the GTD class. Ford, Porsche, Aston Martin, Toyota, and Ferrari will remain in WEC.

DTM will serve as Europe’s connection to racing and development, while Marquardt said the IMSA SportsCar Championship has developed well. He said the U.S. remains the most important market for BMW M and participation in the IMSA series made logical sense to continue.

BMW M8 GTE at the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona

BMW M8 GTE at the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona

More resources will be spent in Formula E, however. The electric racing series has emerged as a future-forward favorite league among manufacturers. Numerous brands have ditched established racing series for Formula E, including Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Notably, Porsche also ended its WEC LMP1 program to join Formula E. Mercedes-Benz said it would leave DTM for Formula E as well.

Other areas BMW Motorsports will focus on include the budding simulation racing segment, which the brand said often attracts younger fans, and its customer racing program. A new GT3 race car is already in development, the company said.

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