Flagship BMW M8 previewed by M8 GTE racer at Frankfurt

Flagship BMW M8 previewed by M8 GTE racer at Frankfurt

Flagship BMW M8 previewed by M8 GTE racer at Frankfurt

Taking a closer look at the M8 GTE, its design remains faithful to the 8-Series Concept shown before. Unlike its road-going cousins, though, the M8 GTE is built entirely by hand.

That slatless kidney grille that improves airflow into the engine will definitely be more slat-y on the production auto.

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.

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The measurements of the race auto will be bulkier than the road faring version, but it gives us a hint at the production vehicles final size.

BMW will return to worldwide endurance racing next year for the first time since 2011, when its M3 GT2 raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a full season entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship. As such, the M8 GTE weighs in at 1,200kg. Kicking off its motorsport schedule will be the Daytona 24 Hours race next January, and then the M8 GTE will be fielded in parallel at the WEC and IMSA throughout the year.

It features a twin-turbo four-cylinder V8 with 500 hp engine, with a cylinder block and cylinder head identical to the 8 series engine.

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The M8 GTE will compete against the likes of the Ferrari 488, Porsche 911, Aston Martin Vantage and Ford GT, and BMW hopes that lessons learned on the track will help the M8 be a rival for those cars on the road. We've also heard that there's already an M8 under development. Called the M8 GTE, this new race vehicle will form the basis of BMW's return to the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2018.

"The BMW M8 GTE is our new GT flagship and will go head to head with the strong opposition in this sector", said Jens Marquardt, BMW's head of motorsports, in a statement.

"The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are top competitive environments for our new challenger".

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In a much anticipated return to the World Endurance Championship, BMW's M8 GTE racer is slated to take to the grid in 2018.

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