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IMSA’s rebranded top division LMDh becomes more robust with BMW as fourth manufacturer


The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship top division for 2023 has become more robust as BMW confirmed its Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) plans.

In 2023, IMSA’s top division will rebrand the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class as LMDh, which will allow IMSA teams to compete with the car in both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of LeMans.

The German brand joins Acura, Audi and Porsche, which will be headed by Team Penske, in their commitment to the the new division.

“BMW is back on the big motorsport stage,” Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH said in a release. “In entering the LMDh class, BMW M Motorsport is fulfilling the prerequisites to challenge for overall victory at the most iconic endurance races in the world from 2023. We will be fully focused on tackling this challenge.”

BMW’s initial plans call for a two-car effort. The works team and driver lineup will be announced at a later date.

“There is a spirit of optimism here,” Flasch said. “BMW has a successful history in prototype racing – the Le Mans victory in 1999 was unforgettable. Reviving this story in a modern prototype with M Power will thrill fans of BMW M Motorsport. The LMDh concept guarantees maximum cost control and offers a wide range of possible applications, including the IMSA series in North America, an extremely important market for BMW M. We are all eager to get stuck into the LMDh category with a compact and highly efficient team setup.”

The newly branded LMDh program is a cost-capped car designed to control expenses while allowing for maximum exposure in the IMSA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) series. Manufacturers will develop their own engines and bodywork on top of a standardized chassis.

“BMW’s history in prototype sports car racing is tremendous and we are eager to see how the next chapter unfolds beginning at Daytona in 2023,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Having four confirmed manufacturers for LMDh already, with even more potentially waiting in the wings, is validation for the platform we created alongside our partners at the ACO.

“The market is speaking loudly and the future is bright for LMDh and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.”