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Marciello joins BMW as factory driver ahead of WEC LMDh programme

Raffaele Marciello will join BMW’s roster of factory drivers next year after announcing his exit from Mercedes earlier this month.

Podium: Race winner Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Mercedes-AMG GT3

Podium: Race winner Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Mercedes-AMG GT3

Mercedes AMG

Although his exact programme will be revealed at a later date, Marciello is expected to drive one of the two works WRT-entered BMW M Hybrid V8 LMDh cars in the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship in 2024.

He could also be in line for additional GT outings in the BMW M4 GT3 in major endurance races around the world as part of his new commitments with the Munich-based manufacturer.

Marciello switches to BMW after a six-year stint at Mercedes that made him one of the biggest names in sportscar racing. 

Racing the Mercedes-AMG GT3 as a works driver from the beginning of 2018, the Italian won multiple titles in GT World Challenge Europe, clinched the 2022 GT Masters championship and added outright wins in the Spa 24 Hours and FIA GT World Cup at Macau to his illustrious CV.

The 28-year-old’s exit from Mercedes was announced in the run-up to last week’s Macau round, an event he dominated from start-to-finish to take his second victory at the Guia circuit.

“I am very excited to be a BMW M works driver starting from the upcoming season,” he said. “This is a significant step in my career. Having been a racing driver for many years, I am immensely proud to be able to compete for BMW M Motorsport in the future.”

Race winner Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Mercedes-AMG GT3

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

Race winner Raffaele Marciello, Mercedes-AMG Team Landgraf Mercedes-AMG GT3

Marciello is understood to have initially agreed to join Lamborghini’s own LMDh programme, which will span both WEC and the endurance leg of IMSA SportsCar Championship, before BMW lured him away for 2024.

Unlike Lamborghini, BMW already has a season of racing under its belt with its Dallara-based LMDh car in IMSA, and is expanding the programme next year to WEC in association with reigning LMP2 championship-winning WRT team.

BMW and Team WRT will field a pair of M Hybrids in WEC next year, while the two parties will also collaborate to run two cars in the new LMGT3 class.

Marciello is the latest high-profile driver to join BMW, which has expanded its factory roster to well over 20 drivers across GTs and prototypes.

Many drivers - including three-time DTM champion Rene Rast - jumped ship due to seismic reduction in Audi’s motorsport portfolio outside of F1.

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Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport, said of Marciello’s signing: “I am very pleased to welcome Raffaele Marciello to the BMW M Motorsport family. 

"When you have the opportunity to sign a top-calibre driver like him, you must seize it. He has consistently demonstrated his prowess for years, particularly in GT cars. But there is much more to him. Before his GT career, Raffaele Marciello showcased his class multiple times in open-wheel racing.

"In our view, he brings the perfect all-around package with his versatility to further strengthen our already high-quality roster of works drivers. The multitude of racing programmes we will undertake in the coming years with our cars provides diverse deployment opportunities. We will announce the specific details of Raffaele Marciello's racing plans in the coming weeks and months."

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