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  BMW V12 LM
 

  Article Image gallery (19) 001/98 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1998
Numbers built:2
Designed by:Williams Engineering
Successor:BMW V12 LMR
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 15, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAs an engine supplier, BMW scored a surprise 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 1995. While the V12 powering the victorious McLaren was designed for road use, it boasted BMW Motorsport DNA. It was continuously developed between as it powered several evolutions of the McLaren F1 GTR. By 1997, it had turned into a proper racing unit. By that time the McLaren was at the end of its career, so BMW decided to develop a prototype racer from scratch around the V12.

Building a Le Mans winning engine was right up BMW's alley but designing and building a prototype racer was not the German manufacturer's strong suit. McLaren had teamed up with BMW rival Mercedes-Benz, so that was not an option. Instead Williams Engineering was commissioned to develop and construct the car. Working under Williams technical director Patrick Head, the new BMW V12 LM was designed by engineer John Russell and aerodynamicist Jason Sommerville.

Not surprisingly perhaps, Williams Engineering effectively designed the prototype racer as a two-seater Formula 1 car. Accordingly, he carbon-fibre monocoque chassis featured a raised foot-box, which allowed for a more efficient airflow under the car. Suspension was by double wishbones with push-rod actuated coil springs and dampers. A typical feature of the V12 LM design was the split engine air intakes on either side of the cockpit, while the nose featured BMW's trademark twin kidney grill.

Installed as a semi-stressed unit was the latest evolution of the all-aluminium V12 engine. Dubbed the S70/3, it displaced just under six litres and was equipped with twin overhead camshafts, actuating four valves per cylinder. Breathing through the mandatory intake restrictors, the V12 produced around 550 bhp. Trimmed down considerably from its first appearance in the McLaren F1 GTR back in 1995, it now weighed only 145 kg. The V12 was mated to an XTrac-sourced, paddle operated six-speed sequential gearbox.

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  Article Image gallery (19) 001/98 Specifications