RLL to take on BMW's LMDh program from 2023, adds 2022 IMSA GTD Pro entry

BMW has extended its partnership with Rahal Letterman Lanigan to run BMW's LMDh program from 2023, remaining in the IMSA SportsCar Championship to run two cars in GTD Pro.

RLL to take on BMW's LMDh program from 2023, adds 2022 IMSA GTD Pro entry

The German manufacturer's relationship with RLL began in 2009, and the American squad remains its team of choice for both its foray into the new GTD Pro division and its LMDh programme that will debut in 2023.

BMW said it will field two new M4 GT3 cars in the GTD Pro category that replaces the GTLM division after this Saturday’s title-deciding Petit Le Mans round, but stopped short of revealing the driver line-ups for both entries.

The announcement means BMW will have at least one factory programme next year, having departed both DTM and Formula E in successive seasons - although it will continue to maintain a presence in the latter series through the Andretti customer team.

“I’m delighted that our LMDh project has reached its next milestone with the announcement of BMW Team RLL as the team to race in the two prototypes,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. 

“As with chassis partner Dallara, in team principal Bobby Rahal and his crew we have outstanding expertise and decades of experience at the highest level on our side.

"The LMDh project continues to gain momentum and I am confident that next year we will once again take all necessary steps as planned to be as well prepared as possible for entering our first IMSA season with the LMDh prototypes in 2023."

RLL principal Graham Rahal added that taking on BMW's LMDh entry was a "direction we wanted to go", and stated that he was relishing the chance to challenge for victories in the class.

#55 BMW Motorsport BMW M4 GT3: Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus

#55 BMW Motorsport BMW M4 GT3: Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus

Photo by: Jan Brucke/VLN

“For me personally and professionally this is a dream come true”, said Rahal.

“Now to first run a brand-new car like the BMW M4 GT3 and after that make the next step with BMW Team RLL to race for overall wins in the LMDh class is a direction we definitely wanted to go.

"I’m so pleased, so proud, so thankful that we’ll be able to do it together with BMW M Motorsport.”

BMW won the prestigious Daytona 24 Hours two years on the trot in 2019 and 2020, but it scaled back its factory M8 programme to just the Michelin Endurance Cup this year.

The RLL-run squad was not able to win any of the three races it contested this year, but Connor De Phillippi said ahead of this weekend that he hopes to send-off the M8 in style with a victory in its farewell appearance.

On the eve of the IMSA title decider, BMW also revealed the first sketch of the LMDh car that will mark its return to the top echelon of prototype racing since its Le Mans 24 Hours-winning V12 LMR contender.

BMW, which is collaborating with Dallara for its LMP2-based car that will also be eligible to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, said the teaser was produced in collaboration between its motorsport and Designwork divsions.

“Uniting the iconic elements of BMW M Motorsport design DNA with the performant architecture of an ultra-modern prototype is what this project is all about,” said BMW Group Designworks global automotive director Mike Scully.

"I’m confident this car will be something we can all be proud of, and that the on-track results will reflect the development team’s great dynamic. 

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