BMW reveals 2023 IMSA drivers, final LMDh race livery

BMW has announced that Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly will lead its factory programme in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTP class in 2023.

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They will be joined in the four Michelin Endurance Cup events by seven-time IndyCar race winner Colton Herta, with more drivers for the long-distance races to be announced at a later date.

De Phillippi and Yelloly will share one of the two BMW M Hybrid V8 entries, while the other works car will be piloted by Eng and Farfus. 

BMW’s two LMDh machines will carry #24 and #25, the same numbers it has been using for its GT efforts in IMSA, but they haven’t been assigned to the two driver pairings just yet.

Out of the four full-season drivers, Phillippi has the most experience in IMSA having been a mainstay of the BMW M8 GTE programme from 2018-21. He is also a part of BMW’s sole full year entry for 2022, sharing the #25 M4 GT3 in the GTD Pro class with countryman John Edwards.

Phillippi’s stablemates Yelloly, Eng and Farfus also have prior racing experience in IMSA, with the trio most recently joining the factory team in Rolex 24 and Sebring earlier this year. Farfus later returned to IMSA for the Watkins Glen enduro in June, joining Phillippi and Edwards as the third driver in the crew.

Farfus and Eng also made select appearances during BMW’s sole campaign in the WEC in 2018/19 with the now-discontinued M8 GTE.

Other drivers to have tested BMW M Hybrid V8 but who were absent from the announcement include two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann, current DTM points leader Sheldon van der Linde and new star signing Rene Rast. All three could potentially join BMW’s LMDh programme when it expands to the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2024.

BMW began testing the LMDh car in the US last week at Sebring after completing initial running in Europe. The LMDh machine, which features a turbocharged V8 engine that previously ran in DTM in naturally-aspirated form, will be shown to public in the IMSA finale at Petit Le Mans on October 1.

Final livery revealed

BMW M Hybrid V8 livery

BMW M Hybrid V8 livery

Photo by: BMW

BMW also showcased the final colour scheme for its LMDh contender at a special event in Petersen Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday night, having previously conducted all testing of the car in a camouflage livery.

Designed by BMW Group Designworks, it sports the famous colours of the BMW M division and a lighting system around the ‘kidney’ grill.

Most of the black areas that are part of the livery will remain in their native carbon fibre finish, with BMW estimating that it will allow the manufacturer to save 20-30% in weight compared to a traditional paint job.

The launch event in LA was attended by BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel, Head of BMW M Motorsport Andreas Roos, IMSA President John Doonan, and the owners of Team RLL, Bobby Rahal, David Letterman and Patrick Lanigan. 

RLL has been appointed as BMW’s official works partner for its IMSA programme, continuing a partnership that began more than a decade ago.

The upcoming factory assault on WEC in 2024 will be fronted by current Audi GT squad WRT.

BMW M Hybrid V8 livery

BMW M Hybrid V8 livery

Photo by: BMW

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