The BMW M8 GTE, the new flagship race car from the Bavarian carmaker, employs BMW Motorsports’s most efficient race engine ever produced. Christened as the P63/1, this race engine is two years in the making. The M8 GTE M8 GTE will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year.
The engine designers at BMW Motorsport penned down more than 500 engine design drawings and another 500 drawings for the powertrain to create the P63/1. The designers used the BMW M5’s S63T4 as the base and decided to retain the configuration to ideally suit the challenges encountered in endurance motor racing. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 produces between 500 and more than 600bhp (depending on the specifications of the sporting authorities).
According to the regulations, the cast parts in the engine block and cylinder head were retained without modification from the M5’s production unit. Both components were made at BMW’s foundry in Landshut, Germany. The P63/1 required a comprehensive modification of the standard parts. Of these parts, 181 were derived from series projects, while more than 700 were specifically developed for the P63/1 or added from other BMW Motorsport racing engines. The engineers reduced the capacity from 4.4- to 4.0-litres, in line with regulations for the GTE class. A flat-crankshaft was used for its advantages of a regular firing order and to lend the engine a sportier sound. The geometry of the combustion chambers, including the inlet and outlet ports, was also modified. Comprehensive modifications to the intake and exhaust system and the complete redesign of the turbocharger have also helped to improve efficiency. A completely new approach to engine control made it possible to achieve instant throttle response and linear power delivery from the engine.
All the above modification results in quick fuel-burning at a maximum temperature of above 2,100 degrees Celsius. This allows the P63/1 to achieve efficiency levels of above 40 per cent. This makes it the most efficient BMW racing engine ever in the sports car and touring car racing.
The new M8 GTE will make its race debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona on 27 January 2018. After the success of the M8 GTE, BMW promises to roll out the new flagship coupe, the M8 sometime next year. The new M8 will replace the M6 and is expected to get the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine and four-wheel-drive system.