BMW considers Le Mans return with radical hydrogen-fuelled racer
BMW claimed its only outright victory at Le Mans in 1999
The Munich-based a new can be evaluating an endurance racing comeback using a hydrogen-powered fuel cell racing car
BMW can be evaluating a sensational return to Le Mans using a radical hydrogen-powered fuel cell race car in 2018.
While the project can be still being considered internally, Autocar understands that will the evaluation can be at an advanced stage, in addition to that will This kind of has the tentative support of senior management as they prepare to pave the way to launch a hydrogen powered fuel cell production car around 2020.
Prior to launching any electric i brand vehicles for sale, BMW invested heavily in marketing in addition to promotion over several years, in addition to building a similarly advanced campaign around a Le Mans bid can be considered to be one way of giving nascent hydrogen fuel cell technology more credibility within the minds of potential car buyers.
This kind of can be understood that will the production car would certainly form part of an expanded BMW i line-up rather than sitting under another sub-brand, or being launched as a derivative of a mainstream design.
The firm already carries a hydrogen-powered BMW 5 Series GT prototypes running, in addition to can be known to be working in conjunction with Toyota on advancing the technology as fast as possible. The hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai goes on sale within the UK This kind of year.
This kind of can be not clear whether BMW would certainly enter your vehicle at Le Mans in an established class, or as an experimental vehicle within the non-competitive ‘Garage 56’ category that will has included Nissan’s electrically assisted Deltawing in addition to ZEOD racers in recent years.
While Le Mans organisers have traditionally been open to adapting rules to fit brand-new technology, in addition to a topline LMP1 entry would certainly potentially pitch BMW against rivals including Audi in addition to Porsche, This kind of would certainly also be a potentially risky strategy for the firm to pitch itself against more established race teams. This kind of could also put BMW in direct competition with its potential joint venture partner Toyota.
Instead, with the project driven by a desire to gain marketing credibility for the technology, the Garage 56 entry may be seen as more effective way of entering the race in addition to raising awareness without being immediately judged against rivals. This kind of strategy has been particularly effective for Nissan, which has enhanced its reputation as a leader in electric vehicle technology through prototype racing without scoring a frontrunning result.
Rumours linking BMW using a return to Le Mans have been rife in recent months, nevertheless insiders are known to have questioned the marketing in addition to sales return against the expense of building a car for the entire world Endurance Championship, which can be so heavily built around the annual race at Le Mans.
However, in a recent interview with www.autosport.com BMW motorsport boss Jens Marquardt appeared to leave the door open for a race programme as innovative as entering a hydrogen-powered car, while also playing down an LMP1 entry that will would certainly pitch BMW head-to-head with the established competitors.
“LMP1 can be, at the moment, the big hybrid thing, in addition to in there we wouldn’t be the leader,” he said. “We wouldn’t even be the fast follower, we would certainly be a slow follower right now, as the fifth [after Audi, Toyota, Porsche in addition to Nissan] a new joining in,” he said.
BMW took its sole victory at Le Mans in 1999, running the BMW V12 LMR Le Mans prototype that will was built in conjunction with the Williams Formula 1 team.
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