The first major highlight at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) has already taken place, before the race has even begun. The new BMW 8 Series Coupe celebrated its world premiere on Friday evening. The new luxury sports car is the production counterpart of the BMW M8 GTE, in which six BMW works drivers will be battling for a good result on Saturday and Sunday. Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, and Pieter Nota, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Brand BMW, unveiled the BMW 8 Series Coupe for the many guests who had gathered in the BMW M Motorsport Hospitality.
"We normally develop cars for the road and then get these ready for the racetrack. The BMW 8 Series represents the first time that we have approached this in a different way: We developed the car and competed successfully in races with it," said Fröhlich. "We have used this experience for the road version. From the racetrack to the road – you feel that every second."
According to Nota, "Le Mans is the world’s most exciting and prestigious event in endurance sports car racing. It’s a sporty and also luxurious platform and therefore just the right place for the World Premiere of the all-new BMW 8 Series Coupe. This car embodies pure power, passion and performance. It offers our customers the perfect combination of a dynamic sports car with genuine luxury. It’s the very essence of a BMW Coupe."
In the development process of the BMW M8 GTE, motorsport and production engineers worked closely together. While the BMW M Motorsport experts were preparing the race car for its debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) in January 2018, the finishing touches were being put to the BMW 8 Series Coupe.
"We enjoyed really close, efficient cooperation with our colleagues from production development," said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, who attended the presentation of the BMW 8 Series Coupe in Le Mans alongside Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, and BMW works driver Martin Tomczyk (GER). "Of course, the developers from production had to master their own set of challenges. Nonetheless, they were ready and willing to join us in the GTE project. That was real teamwork."
The development of the BMW 8 Series Coupe benefited from the knowledge gained by the BMW M Motorsport engineers from those first appearances in endurance racing. It boasts an unrivalled combination of inspiring sportiness and contemporary luxury, assured long-distance comfort and innovative user-operation, driver assistance and connectivity technology.
The body structure, drive technology and suspension focus squarely on achieving the elite dynamic performance expected of a top-class sports car. The result was the redefinition of the sports car- the new BMW 8 Series Coupe combines imposing lateral and longitudinal dynamic performance with poise, assurance and luxury over long distances. The new BMW 8 Series Coupe opens a further chapter in the brand’s successful sports car history and kicks off the model initiative of BMW in the luxury segment.
This weekend, the BMW 8 Series Coupe will be on show at the BMW M Motorsport Hospitality, while the BMW M8 GTE celebrates its Le Mans debut on the racetrack.