BMW to return to Le Mans, confirms WEC program for 2018

BMW last raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011.

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BMW will make its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as part of a factory GTE-Pro program in the FIA World Endurance championship, beginning in 2018.

The German manufacturer announced its plans on Tuesday, as part of a realignment of its motorsports activities that includes a continued focus on DTM, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, GT3 and GT4 customer racing, as well as ventures in Formula E and Dakar.

The yet-to-be-announced GTE car will compete in both the WEC and WeatherTech Championship. Further details, including the team that will be spearheading the WEC program, will be announced in the coming months.

FIA World Endurance Championship 2017 schedule revealed

"Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship," said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.

"This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing."

BMW last competed at Le Mans in 2011, having finished third in the GTE-Pro class with its M3 GT, in what was then the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

It has since focused its factory GT racing efforts exclusively in North America with BMW Team RLL, which currently campaigns IMSA-homologated BMW M6 GTLM cars in the WeatherTech Championship.

BMW will join Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Aston Martin with factory or works-supported efforts in the WEC GTE-Pro class, along with the possibility of Lamborghini, which has been linked to a program for 2018 or 2019.