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BMW is going racing with its upcoming M8 sports car.

BMW has released the first image of its M8-based race car. Known as the M8 GTE, the racing version of the M8 street car will compete in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.The M8 GTE will be campaigned by BMW Team RLL, which is led by racing legend Bobby Rahal. Racing last year's M6 GTLM car, BMW Team RLL took home four victories, including a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

"Coming off one of our most successful years together with BMW, I am very pleased that we will continue to work together in the years to come to gain more victories and championships for BMW. This has been a tremendous, long-term relationship that started in 2009 and we are very honored and privileged to represent BMW on the race tracks of North America," said Rahal. "An enhanced RLL organization for 2018 will no doubt help in the development and running of the new BMW M8 GTE, which surely is one of the most exciting new cars of 2018."

The 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is set to kick off on January 28 with the 56th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona. Additional information regarding BMW Motorsports programs will be released next month, but BMW has already stated that it plans to take the M8 racing at LeMans.

The road-going M8, meanwhile, is expected to debut sometime in 2018.