The gap in the electric SUV racing market has
been filled, with Jaguar having announced
plans to run a one-make series for its new
I-PACE. The I-PACE e TROPHY will support
selected Formula E events, starting 2018.
The “finished” version of BMW’s
new 2018 M8 GTE racer was
revealed to the world at the recent
Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
Powered by a twin-turbo, four-liter
V8, the M8 GTE replaces the M6
GTLM that’s currently raced by Rahal
Letterman Lanigan Racing in IMSA’s
Weather Tech Championship. But
unlike its predecessor, the M8 will
also see action in a new-format FIA
WEC, including a double-dose of
the 24 Hours of Le Mans (see left).
“With the BMW M8 GTE, we are
bringing cutting-edge technology
to the top international class of GT
racing, whilst at the same time tying
in with our tradition at Le Mans,”
said BMW Motorsport director Jens
Marquardt. “The development of the
BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we
can hardly wait to see the car
challenging for victories in 2018.”
The car has already begun track
testing at Barcelona and the
Lausitzring in the hands of Martin
Tomczyk and Maxime Martin.
LOOKS GOOD, M8
The new BMW M8 GTE racer weighs
in at just under 2,700lbs, thanks to
extensive use of carbon-fiber
reinforced polymer components.
BMW VS. THE WORLD
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It’s the FIA World Endurance
Championship, but not as you know it.
The shrinking of manufacturer
involvement in LMP1 over the past
couple of years has led to some soul
searching at the top level of sports car
racing. One of the outcomes of that
self-reflection will be a vastly different-looking, “winterized” world championship.
The 18-month 2018/2019 “super
New 18-month calendar includes Sebring and two Le Mans
season” will include two editions of the
WEC GETS SUPERSIZED
24 Hours of Le Mans: the ’ 18 race to serve
Plans for sprint-length GTE qualifying
as round two (after a Spa curtain-raiser),
and 2019’s running as the season finale.
The other big change is the return of
Sebring International Raceway as the
venue for the super season’s only North
American race, replacing the five-time
WEC-hosting Circuit of The Americas.
The WEC’s first visit to Florida since
2012, when it shared the track with the
American Le Mans Series’ season-opener,
will be a completely different race to
IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring. The WEC’s
1500 Miles of Sebring is set to start at
midnight, March 16, 2019, two hours
after the IMSA race has been completed.
The reimagined calendar also includes
visits to Fuji, Shanghai and Silverstone, as
well as Spa (twice). Sebring ensures the
WEC visits the minimum three continents
required for world championship status.
As well as COTA’s exit, Bahrain, the
Nurburgring and Mexico City have all
been left off the new-look schedule,
although Mexico’s organizers have
expressed an interest in filling a slot,
should further tweaks be announced.
GTE SPRINTS ON HOLD
races have been put on ice as part of a
move to keep costs near to 2017 levels.
After years of anchoring
the middle of the WEC
Le Mans will move to
the start and the end.