BMW rules out using evo jokers on LMDh car before end of 2024

BMW doesn’t plan to use evo jokers on its LMDh car before the end of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship seasons, motorsport boss Andreas Roos says.

The BMW M8 Hybrid V8 is currently in its second year of operation after making a debut at the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2023 alongside other LMDh contenders from Cadillac, Acura and Porsche.

But the Dallara LMP2-based contender has only received limited success so far in IMSA, with last year’s Watkins Glen round the only event where it scored a victory in the new GTP class.

The Bavarian marque’s WEC programme with WRT, meanwhile, is still in its infancy, having expanded to the world championship at the start of 2024 after devoting all its resources last year to the IMSA project with Rahal Letterman Lanigan.

All manufacturers are allowed to use up to five development jokers over the lifespan of an LMDh or a LMH car, which can be utilised to bring performance updates with hardware changes.

Peugeot became the first manufacturer to take advantage of the system to bring an updated version of the 9X8 LMH at Imola in April, while Porsche also came close to upgrading the engine of its 963 that would have «probably» counted towards one of its jokers.

But speaking ahead of this month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, where neither BMW was classified, Roos made it clear that the M Hybrid V8 will see out the season in its current specification.

Asked if there are any plans to take a joker in 2024, he said: “No, not at the moment.

Andreas Roos, Head of BMW Motorsport M

Andreas Roos, Head of BMW Motorsport M

Photo by: BMW

“For sure we investigate and check maybe which areas we could look into to improve or where you think.

“But there’s nothing happening at the moment yet that we say we need a joker for this or that.

“For sure we will check now, especially when we have our first 24-hour race here under the belt if there are areas where we feel we have to do something.

“But generally I’m still of the opinion that the cars are quite close together.”

Roos also feels that introducing regular upgrades could make it harder for series regulators to devise an accurate Balance of Performance system, as it relies on on-track data to equalise the speed of different cars.

“There is a BoP behind which should be able to manage to bring the cars even closer together and this should be the approach to have to balance the field,” he said.

“If everybody uses jokers and develops the car, then first of all it’s an expensive topic and it also makes it difficult again to have BoP in the right window because then you start all over again.

“We all see also in other championships that as long as cars and things are quite stable, it’s much easier to bring the cars and to adjust them to the same window.

“So we clearly need to look into if there are some topics where you say, ‘okay it’s a topic where you really have to look into and maybe use a joker’ or is there other ways let’s say to equalise this.”

#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8: Jesse Krohn, Philipp Eng

#24 BMW Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8: Jesse Krohn, Philipp Eng

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Pressed further if any joker upgrades are on the cards by the end of the year, he said: “No, nothing planned at the moment.”

Roos has previously spoken about the possibility of BMW introducing a third car at Le Mans next year, with the additional entry likely to be managed by its IMSA partner RLL.

Porsche and Cadillac have already taken advantage of their North American crews to run three cars at Le Mans in 2023 and ‘24, giving them a numerical advantage over rival manufacturers.

Roos continues to believe in the benefits of having an expanded presence at La Sarthe, but reiterated that it has to make sense from an operational standpoint.

“I always said it’s nice to have three cars at Le Mans because in the past I often said one car has a technical issue, one car has a crash and the third car is winning. But we have to see,» he said.

“It’s always nice to have more cars on the grid, but it also has to fit together totally in terms of how you run.

“It’s not just having a car on the grid, if we want to do it and if we want to have a competitive third car on the grid.”

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