For the 20th consecutive season, BMW M GmBH returns to the racetrack at the 2018 MotoGP World Championship to lead the world’s best motorcycle riders with its fleet of vehicles at the front.
“A MotoGP Safety Car faces enormous challenges,” said BMW M GmbH President, Frank Van Meel. “It is vital to lead a field of unique, high-performance race prototypes through all sorts of conditions. Innovative motorsport technology is an essential part of this. The new BMW M5 forms the perfect basis for a safety car, as its technical features ensure perfect handling, even at the limits of driving dynamics – on the road and on the racetrack.”
Taking up the responsibility for prepping the M5 for life as a safety car was BMW M Manufaktur in Garching. The engineers started with the standard street car, then proceeded to add a variety of M Performance Parts, which, as BMW points out, “are available as retrofit parts for the BMW M5 production model.” The group also upgraded the styling, aero, cooling, and safety systems, while simultaneously cutting out a weight where possible.
The exterior design was inspired by the BMW M8 GTE race car, a competition-spec vehicle destined for the harrowing 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018. In terms of weight reduction, the M team added loads of composite material, such as with carbon fiber reinforced plastic for the roof panel, as well as carbon components for the side sills, rear diffuser, rear spoiler, grille, side view mirror housings, and air breather slats. It looks pretty good, and it’s decently functional as well.
Take a peek behind that weave-laden kidney grille intake, and you’ll find the M5 Safety Car is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, which just saw an increase in power to 600 ponies total with the latest F90 generation changeover in August.
BMW also saw fit to throw on a fresh BMW M Performance sport exhaust, a nice upgrade that’s made from titanium and tipped with carbon fiber end pieces. Up front, there’s a prototype front splitter, which you unfortunately can’t buy from the dealership. There are also new hood latches for the sake of safety, and up top, there’s a new light bar with LEDs, plus front-facing blue LED flashing lights and flashing corona rings in the headlights.
One of the big headlines for the new M5 was the addition of the M xDrive AWD system, a first for the nameplate, and the MotoGP Safety Car retains the system for extra grip on track. Handling is helped thanks to the inclusion of M-tuned suspension pieces, while inside, there are new buckets seats plucked from the BMW M4 GTS.
Every season, BMW M GmBH creates new highlights with its Safety Car. The latest models and impressive technical innovation are what makes the BMW M MotoGP Safety Cars of the past, present and future so special.