BMW pushing Class 1 cars as a base for global Prototype future

Image by Yasushi Ishihara/LAT

BMW pushing Class 1 cars as a base for global Prototype future

Le Mans/WEC

BMW pushing Class 1 cars as a base for global Prototype future


BMW Motorsport head Jens Marquardt told RACER at Sebring that the German marque is actively pushing for hybridized Class 1 cars to serve as the base for a new global Prototype solution from 2022.

Class 1, which is the regulation set utilized by GT500 class in the Japanese Super GT Championship (pictured) — and as of 2019 in the German DTM touring car series too — features aggressive, road-car-silhouette, but full race chassis-based cars housing two-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engines that produce in excess of 620 horsepower.

As it stands, many manufacturers have race cars running to those regulations, including BMW, Honda, Lexus, Audi, Aston Martin (R-Motorsport) and Nissan. Join DTM and Super GT races are also planned for later this year. There are moves afoot for the Class 1 formula to adopt a hybridized powertrain, potentially incorporating a ‘spec’ hybrid system.

This news comes amid speculation over BMW’s future as a factory entrant in GTE ranks of the FIA WEC after the ‘Super Season’ comes to a close in June. Its IMSA GTLM program, though, seems to be under less immediate question.

Meanwhile, the regulations for the WEC’s 2020 ‘Hypercars’, which will replace LMP1, are in a state of flux — the regulations are still not finalized and no manufacturers have yet publicly signed up for the new formula that is due to debut at the start of the 2020/21 WEC season (around 500 days away). However, ACO President Pierre Fillon stressed to the media today at Sebring that there’s an expectation of the regulations being released in the very near future.

Class 1 global implementation to Prototypes globally being pushed by BMW is interesting, with the manufacturer having stated recently that it has no intention of joining the proposed ‘Hypercar’ formula as it does not have an appropriate and relevant base model to field.

However, Marquardt is now pointing toward a push for IMSA to adopt Class 1 as the basis for the next generation of DPi, due for the 2022 season, and for the FIA WEC and ACO to accept that as part of a global Prototype solution.

Cadillac DPi, BMW M8, GTLM. Image by Michael Levitt/LAT.

A global solution was discussed between the FIA/ACO and IMSA in the early days of the Hypercar regulations, but the two organizing bodies were unable to come to an agreement to share the same philosophy for the WeatherTech Championship and WEC. Both performance parameters and budgets were major sticking points between the two sanctioning bodies.

With the move recently to incorporate race versions of road-going hypercars within the new regulations, the predicted performance of the new cars brings them very close indeed to potential DPi II numbers.