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IMSA GTP Road Atlanta October testing

BMW hails "really good" Altanta test as LMDh homologation nears

BMW enjoyed a strong test with its LMDh challenger at Road Atlanta last week as it prepares to homologate the car for the 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship.

Connor de Filippi, BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8

The German manufacturer took part in an IMSA sanctioned test at the 2.5-mile course immediately after Petit Le Mans, with Marco Wittmann, Connor De Phillippi, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly all sharing the driving seat of the BMW M Hybrid V8.

BMW was joined over the three days by Acura and Cadillac, with Porsche the only GTP manufacturer not present at Road Atlanta despite having already shipped both of its test cars to North America.

Although the lap times were not made available to the public, BMW described its latest development test for 2023 a success and added that it is going in the “right direction” with its LMDh testing programme.

“We have to say already the first roll out went well and from there we progressed a lot,” BMW’s motorsport boss Andreas Roos told Autosport.

“We had two tests in Europe, we have now several tests in the US and the last one at Atlanta directly after Petit Le Mans. 

“We have to say it went very well for us. We did a lot of mileage and that is our main focus at the moment because in endurance racing the first thing is you have to have a reliable car.

“So, at the moment our main focus is on reliability development. This is also why we want to do as much mileage as possible. 

“But it is quite intensive. Basically, we now go from test to test to test to really go through all the points that we have to do but at the moment we are on a good way. 

“Not everything runs smoothly for sure. You have some issues here and there but we have to say there is no major issue on the car, we can run and that's the main important thing. 

“For sure we still have to work also on the performance, on the balance side and everything but it is all going in the right direction.”

Connor De Phillippi, Marco Wittmann, BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8

Connor De Phillippi, Marco Wittmann, BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8

Photo by: Andreas Beil

The BMW LMDh sustained damage in a crash at a previous test in Watkins Glen in September, but the car was repaired in time for the Road Atlanta test last week.

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Wittmann flew to the US to take part in the three-day test before returning to Europe for the DTM title decider at Hockenheim, where it was announced that the German driver would join BMW’s GTP line-up at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

Wittmann was happy with how the test progressed for BMW, as it got to evaluate how its Dallara-based contender stacked up against LMDh cars from Acura and Cadillac.

"It was a very good test,” Wittmann told Autosport. “We covered a lot of mileage which was really nice to see.

“For me it was the first time in Road Atlanta so it was also cool to see this track which is quite amazing I have to say. 

“Generally, the American tracks are very old school, not much run-off area, which is nice - it is challenging. So it's very cool. 

“The test was very good, also was the first time Cadillac, Acura and BMW were together on track which was also nice to see the difference. 

“It was a good test day, covered a lot of mileage, which was very good. The progress is ongoing.”

Roos added that BMW is close to locking the final spec of the car that will be homologated for the 2023 IMSA season and admitted that it has sacrificed performance development to make sure it meets the deadline.

“The homologation is very, very soon, so there is not a lot of time,” explained Roos. “So, for sure this is a very demanding topic.

“We are still in the development and the testing phase but also there is the homologation so let's say the main hardware and everything from the car is defined which has to be homologated and now you start working in the detail. These are the things which are not homologated. 

“Also, in our development process, the first thing [was to] sign off the parts which you need for homologation.

“So, we didn't focus too much on performance development.

"We just said these are the topics where we need an answer, it's where the top priority list is up there. And when the homologation is done then the car is like it is and then we go into the details.”

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