BMW have announced that the newest car to have been selected as the official safety car for the MotoGP season, which it duly unveiled over the weekend prior to the start of the race at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria. Unsurprisingly, it’s the automaker’s flagship GT, the M8 Competition.
The car continues an unbroken chain of BMW M safety cars for the pinnacle of the motorcycle racing series, one that began in 1999 and has included such greats as the Z8 roadster, Z4 M Coupe, 1M Coupe, M4 GTS, and most recently, the F90 M5.
“The BMW M8 and the BMW M8 GTE were developed in parallel, and these racing genes distinguish the BMW M8 models in all areas,” said Markus Flasch, President of BMW M GmbH. “That’s why it was a logical step for us to choose the BMW M8 Competition as a basis for our new MotoGP safety car."
“Even in its production version, this high-performance automobile is suited to the racetrack. With its innovative technical features, it is yet another example of our quest to keep pushing the limit upwards. With the BMW M8 MotoGP Safety Car, we are really excited to present a new, powerful lead car for the top tier of motorcycle racing.”
To prep the car for its duties as the sport’s lead car, BMW have fitted the M8 Competition with a laundry list of enhancements which, we’re happy to report, are not merely cosmetic. You must have noticed the fixed rear wing by now, lifted from M8 GTE racer.
Apart from that, the car now features a titanium exhaust system, RECARO racing seats, FIA-spec roll cage, Michelin Cup tyres, and a roof-mounted LED light panel. Elsewhere, there is the unique MotoGP livery replete with very obvious Oakley branding on the side mirrors.
Under the bonnet, the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged S63 V8 engine produces 460kW and 750Nm. Drive is sent through a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission to the M xDrive 4-wheel drive system, then capable of distributing it to all four wheels for maximum grip and acceleration.