BMW seems to realize not everyone likes its big new grille—hence why it appears to be leaving it off the updated 3 Series. Giving it up entirely, though, appears to be off the table. BMW will soon discharge one of its biggest kidney grilles yet in your faces on a newly announced endurance racing prototype that somehow doesn’t look as ugly as you’d expect.
The Bavarian carmaker announced on the run up to IMSA’s season-ending Petit Le Mans that it’ll return to top-flight endurance racing in 2023 with a new prototype, the BMW M LMDh. Concept art of the car shows giant twin frontal air inlets in the shape of BMW’s signature kidney grille; bigger than that of any BMW seen so far, including the current (slightly underwhelming) M3. Because the BMW M LMDh’s grille doesn’t resemble beaver teeth, though, it doesn’t look like total garbage.
This prototype marks the first such car from BMW since 1999, when it collaborated with Williams Formula One Team on the BMW V12 LMR to win that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. With BMW’s V12s not guaranteed to stick around past the year the M LMDh debuts, it’s likely the car will use a smaller drivetrain, potentially one related to that new turbo V8. We know for sure it’ll be a hybrid like all LMDh cars (Dh is for Daytona Hybrid, not Designated Hitter).
The BMW M LMDh will utilize a chassis from Dallara and be campaigned by Team RLL, with which BMW has won numerous sports car races and even IMSA championships since 2009. Come 2023, BMW and RLL will campaign a pair of M LMDhs in IMSA, and because of the converging IMSA-WEC prototype regulations, BMW might even have the chance to race at Le Mans later on. It’s far from confirmed, but if you’re gonna go through the trouble of building a prototype for one series, you might as well race it in the other too.
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