Munich, April 23, 1999... BMW wants to compete in the legendary 24-Hours of Le Mans in 1999 with the BMW V12 LMR. The new sports car has completed a comprehensive test program, even winning the traditional 12-Hour Race in Sebring, Florida, in March. However, before the car can start in Le Mans on June 12th, it has to get through prequalifying on May 2nd.

Forty-eight starters are permitted to the race by the organizer, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (A.C.O.), with 62 cars, including three BMW V12 LMR, having been invited to contend the prequalifying round on May 2nd.

BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger commented on the dress rehearsal in Le Mans: "Prequalifying gives the first indications of where we really stand. We have already come up against several competitors, but on May2nd, the field will be complete. We will also be able to see for the first time, how well our car meets the demands in Le Mans. There are no possibilities to test there and the special track conditions cannot be simulated."

The A.C.O. splits the candidates into two groups on the evening before prequalifying. One group practices on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the second group training from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Team BMW Motorsport is directed on the track by Charly Lamm. The pilots, Pierluigi Martini (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Jorg Muller (Germany) have been entered for prequalifying for the three BMW V12 LMR with the starting numbers 15 to 17. In addition, three-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas (France), Joachim Winkelhock (Germany) and JJ Lehto (Finland) will take the opportunity to experience the BMW V12 LMR in Le Mans. Lehto won the endurance classic in 1995, with Kristensen winning it in 1997.


The BMW V12 LMR evolved at BMW Motorsport Limited in Grove, England. Dr. Mario Theissen, the head of BMW Motorsports responsible for the technology, explains: "Le Mans is also from the technological viewpoint unique. On no other comparable track are such high speeds sustained for such long distances".

The BMW V12 LMR is equipped both at the front and the rear with twin wishbone-axles. Pushrods operate the suspension units over rocker arms. Carbon-fiber brakes make sure that the car comes to a halt in Formula 1style.

The aerodynamically optimated outer skin consists mainly of five carbon-fiber body parts. Once the service-friendly front and rear hoods are removed, only the side panels remain, allowing a clear view of the carbon-fiber monocoque.

This self-supporting structure surrounds the cockpit and the integrated safety fuel tank which lie behind it. The regulations limit the tank capacity to 90 liters.

The engine and the gearbox are situated behind the tank. The transverse six-speed gearbox, constructed by BMW Motorsport Limited, is behind the engine. The transmission is sequential, but manually operated - automatic gearboxes are forbidden.


The tried and tested and once again further developed BMW six-liter V12 is the powerhouse of the BMW V12 LMR. This engine celebrated its first great victory in 1995, by winning the 24-Hours of Le Mans - at the time, it powered the closed super-sports car, the McLaren BMW.

The engine power is limited to about 580 hp by air-restrictors. The diameter of each of the two restrictors, one per bank of cylinders, is 32.9 millimeters. The vehicle's total weight is also defined by the regulations. The dry weight of the BMW V12 LMR tips the scales at 900 kilograms.


As in Sebring, the Team Price+Bscher project will be supported during prequalifying by the BMW works drivers Bill Auberlen (USA) and Steve Soper (GB). They will be at the wheel of a modified 98 BMW V12 Le Mans. A second further development of last year's car will be deployed by the Japanese team Goh.