The squad of works drivers at BMW M Motorsport for the 2023 season includes more prominent newcomers. Belgians Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts receive works driver contracts and join the BMW M Motorsport family. They will compete with BMW M Team WRT in the coming season, among other outings. The initial race programmes for the BMW M Motorsport teams and works drivers have also been confirmed. They include appearances in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with the new BMW M Hybrid V8, as well as starts with the BMW M4 GT3 in GT World Challenge Europe, the Intercontinental GT Challenge and the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER). More race programmes – including the DTM that is undergoing a major transformation at the moment – are being planned and will be announced at a later date.
“After celebrating 50 years of BMW M and looking back on the glorious history of BMW M and BMW M Motorsport in 2022, we have an exciting season ahead of us in 2023 on the road to the future of motor racing,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “Taking centre stage is the BMW M Hybrid V8, which will be the first hybrid race car from BMW M Motorsport to appear in the IMSA series. The car is the symbol of the transformation of BMW M towards electrification, meaning it also plays a crucial role beyond motorsport. I am looking forward to the races with BMW M Team RLL and the parallel test work being undertaken by BMW M Team WRT, which will start with the BMW M Hybrid V8 in the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2024. I will also have my fingers crossed for all the teams and drivers doing battle for victories and titles in 2023 with the BMW M4 GT3, the new BMW M4 GT4 and the BMW M2 CS Racing.”
Andreas Roos, Head of BMW M Motorsport, said: “After a successful 2022, including title wins in the DTM, we are shifting up another gear next year. We have improved what was already a very strong squad of works drivers with René Rast, Maxime Martin, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts. On the team side, we are continuing our collaborations, which have grown over many years, including with BMW M Team RLL, BMW M Team RMG and ROWE Racing. Of course, we also plan to continue with our DTM champion team Schubert Motorsport, although we weren’t able to fix anything yet due to the current DTM situation. We also welcome BMW M Team WRT as a new BMW M Motorsport team. We are facing some exciting sporting challenges in 2023 and the years to come, for which we need the best teams and drivers. After all, the goal is to add to the success story of the BMW brand in motor racing.”
The 2023 works drivers.
Vanthoor and Weerts are the latest members of the BMW M Motorsport family. 24-year-old Vanthoor can already look back on some impressive successes. He has won the Nürburgring 24 Hours twice (2019, 2022), was Sprint Cup Champion on three occasions in GT World Challenge Europe (2020, 2021, 2022) and was crowned overall champion in GT World Challenge Europe in 2021. Vanthoor has also tasted victory at the 24h Dubai (UAE), the 12h Bathurst (AUS) and took class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA).
Weerts is 21 years old and has enjoyed success alongside Vanthoor in the past. This includes winning the title in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup in 2020, 2021 and 2022, as well as the overall title in the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe.
The BMW M Motorsport squad for the 2023 season now comprises 20 works drivers, including newcomers René Rast (GER) and Maxime Martin (BEL), who were announced a while ago. Other drivers without a works driver contract will also start for BMW M Motorsport in races and tests in BMW M race cars.
Debut season for the BMW M Hybrid V8 in North America.
A new era dawns in 2023 when the new BMW M Hybrid V8 contests its debut season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America. BMW M Team RLL will field two new hybrid prototypes in the highest class – GTP. They will be driven by Connor De Phillippi (USA), Nick Yelloly (GBR), Philipp Eng (AUT) and Augusto Farfus (BRA). Sheldon van der Linde (RSA) and Marco Wittmann (GER) will bolster the IMSA squad in the BMW M Hybrid V8 at the endurance races at Daytona and Sebring (both USA). Colton Herta (USA) will also be involved at the season-opener, the 24 Hours of Daytona in January.
BMW M Team WRT in IGTC and GTWC.
BMW M Team WRT will run a double programme with the BMW M4 GT3 in 2023, both in GT World Challenge Europe and at races in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The works programme for BMW M Team WRT begins with the 12h Bathurst on the first weekend of February. The exact driver line-ups for the team’s BMW M4 GT3 will be announced at a later date. Before travelling to Australia, the team will use the 24 Hours of Dubai in January to gain experience with the BMW M4 GT3 under race conditions, as part of a customer outing organised by the team itself. At the same time, BMW M Team WRT will also be preparing for the 2024 season, in which it will appear in the FIA World Endurance Championship with the BMW M Hybrid V8.
ROWE Racing in GTWC Endurance and at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
The 24-hour race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife is one of the highlights of the race calendar every year. It has already been confirmed that 2020 winners ROWE Racing will again start the classic in the Eifel mountains with two BMW M4 GT3s for BMW M Motorsport. The team is also planned to continue to race in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup with two works-supported BMW M4 GT3s next season.
BMW M Team RMG: 24h Nürburgring contender and development team.
Parallel to the many race outings, BMW M Motorsport will also continue its development work with various BMW M race cars in 2023. BMW M Team RMG remains largely responsible for the test and development work. In addition to that, the Andernach-based team will again compete in its home race with the BMW M4 GT3, the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Race action and new roles for Bruno Spengler.
BMW M works driver Bruno Spengler (CAN) will be behind the wheel of the BMW M4 GT3 in 2023 and contest multiple international races next season. He will also have a bigger role within the BMW family in other areas. Spengler will be BMW SIM Racing Ambassador and BMW Group Classic Ambassador from 2023.