FIA WEC: BMW M Team WRT kicks off 2024 season with the BMW M Hybrid V8 and the BMW M4 GT3 – First drivers confirmed.

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Munich. The debut season for BMW M Motorsport in the FIA World
Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) is on the horizon. The release of
the official entry list confirms the participation of BMW M Team WRT
in both the Hypercar and LMGT3 classes. The Belgian team will field
two BMW M Hybrid V8s and two BMW M4 GT3 cars. The initial driver
lineup is also confirmed, with Dries Vanthoor (BEL) and Sheldon van
der Linde (RSA) taking the wheel of the two LMDh cars. Augusto
Farfus (BRA) and Valentino Rossi (ITA) will be competing in the two
BMW M4 GT3 cars.

 

The nine-time motorcycle world champion will take on a new challenge
in the BMW M4 GT3 with his iconic number 46. Already last season, he
made his debut on the legendary Le Mans circuit (FRA) during the “Road
to Le Mans” races and immediately won one of the two races. The two
BMW M Team WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 cars will carry the numbers 15 and 20,
while the second BMW M4 GT3 will have the number 31.

The additional drivers for BMW M Team WRT in the FIA WEC season 2024
will be announced at a later date. Both Vanthoor and van der Linde
will be joined by two more BMW M works drivers each in the two BMW M
Hybrid V8 cars. For the LMGT3 category, the regulations dictate the
inclusion of amateur drivers.

Reactions to the FIA WEC lineup:

Andreas Roos (Head of BMW M Motorsport): “With the
confirmation of our team for the Hypercar and LMGT3 classes, as well
as the initial drivers, our comeback in the FIA WEC takes another
important step. BMW M Team WRT is among the best teams globally in
both the prototype and GT3 segments. For sporting and logistical
reasons, Vincent Vosse’s team was the logical choice to field both the
BMW M Hybrid V8 and the BMW M4 GT3. The BMW M works drivers we have
nominated possess the necessary driving skill and experience. Sheldon
van der Linde is already familiar with the BMW M Hybrid V8, and Dries
Vanthoor made a strong impression during test drives. Additionally, he
has previously competed at Le Mans in an LMP2 prototype. Valentino
Rossi made a strong debut at Le Mans this season, winning immediately
in the BMW M4 GT3. Overall, his first season as a BMW M works driver
has been very impressive. I am convinced that he will play an
important role and be a crowd favorite in the FIA WEC. Augusto Farfus,
with his experience and driving skill, will be a crucial pillar for
the LMGT3 programme.”

Vincent Vosse (Team Principal BMW M Team WRT): “What
a privilege for us as a team to be able to field both two BMW M Hybrid
V8s and two BMW M4 GT3s for BMW M Motorsport in the FIA WEC! While we
have two separate crews for the two projects, it will still be a
significant challenge for WRT. But we love challenges! The drivers who
will be working with us, we already know very well from previous joint
racing commitments. Starting with Valentino Rossi in the FIA WEC is
something truly special. We talked about this at our very first
meetings. Now, this circle is closing, and it feels like we’ve already
ticked most of the boxes we discussed back then.”

Dries Vanthoor (#15 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I am overjoyed
to be part of the BMW M Motorsport WEC programme. It is a dream come
true for me to be able to compete in the top class of endurance racing
so I naturally aim to achieve good results. We have already conducted
tests, and by the start of the season, we will have accomplished a lot
of work. We are highly motivated to start the season successfully. I
am very proud to be part of this significant programme. I want to
thank BMW M Motorsport and everyone who has helped me reach this
milestone in my career. Now we are working tirelessly to bring some
beautiful trophies to Munich.”

Sheldon van der Linde (#20 BMW M Hybrid V8): “It has
always been my big dream to drive at Le Mans. That I now get this
chance with the BMW M Hybrid V8 is simply fantastic. I will be
competing for the first time in an official FIA World Championship,
which is also something very special for me. Until it kicks off next
year in Qatar, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am very
much looking forward to working with BMW M Team WRT and my fellow
drivers. The FIA WEC races on great tracks, many of which I need to
learn  from new. However, adapting quickly to new tracks is one of my
strengths. I am already familiar with the LMDh car from the IMSA
series, which is an advantage. The power and aerodynamics of the BMW M
Hybrid V8 remind me a bit of the old DTM cars. Racing with that is
incredibly fun. I am very excited about the challenge, and even though
it is significant, we will, of course, try to have a say in the title fight.”

Augusto Farfus (#31 BMW M4 GT3): “Being selected by
BMW M Motorsport for the FIA WEC programme is a great honor. I am very
grateful for that. I think the FIA WEC will be the biggest racing
platform in the world next year, alongside Formula 1. We know the BMW
M4 GT3 very well by now, which will surely help us. As well as the
experience that the BMW M Team WRT has already gained in the series.
Personally, I have not had much luck in my past starts at Le Mans.
Hopefully, we can change that! Besides the 24 Hours of Le Mans, I am
especially looking forward to my home race in São Paulo.”

Valentino Rossi (#46 BMW M4 GT3): “I am very excited
to compete in the FIA WEC. It is the next step for me to participate
in a world championship, not only in Europe but to race globally
again. I am already familiar with the car after this season, but the
format with three drivers from three different performance categories
will be new for me. Overall, I believe we will be very well positioned.”

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