BMW M goes into the 2016 MotoGP season with a Safety Car based on the new BMW M2 Coupe. The model, which was unveiled just last month, provides the ideal basis with its new 3-litre inline 6-cylinder engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology.
In the BMW M factory, the production car was modified, optimised and prepared by hand for its new role in MotoGP. As well as exclusive tailor-made solutions and mandatory safety features, the engineers at the M Division also equipped the Safety Car with extensive BMW M Performance Parts.
This not only gives the car an eye-catching appearance, but also plays a practical role in the areas of aerodynamics, cooling and lightweight design. Many of the M Performance Parts, including the lowered thread chassis and exhaust with flap system, are also available as retrofit components for the M2 Coupe.
The modifications took about 10 weeks to complete after commencement in October last year. The prototype workshop, which is responsible for innovative detailed solutions and customisations within the M factory, played a central role in the project. It is here that a team of highly-qualified specialists implemented the most demanding specifications by hand.
As well as the installation and addition of M Performance Parts, the prototype workshop’s key roles included preparing tailor-made components, capable of completely coping with the high-performance demands faced on the racetrack.
The flat light bar on the roof features the very latest LED technology and control electronics. The prototype workshop manufactured a bracket accordingly, the design of which boasted both impressive aerodynamics and an athletic look. The lightweight, sandwich-style bracket consists of an under laminate, a perforated sheet in the centre and a carbonfibre covering in the same colour as the car. The internal metal panel not only absorbs tensile forces, but also helps secure the light bar, which can easily be removed for transport purposes.
The light bar is controlled via a specially developed control panel in the cockpit. Here, the crew can select from various lighting programmes and flash frequencies.
The electrics experts have also installed additional flashing LED lights on the front and rear of the car. Blue LEDs are used on the front grille, while the corona rings surrounding the headlights also flash. On the rear of the car, flashing red LEDs replace the reversing lights found on the production car. All signalling systems can be controlled separately and ensure maximum attention out on the racetrack.
As the project continued, it was the fluid dynamics experts who were put to the test. Although the light bar and roof brackets are designed to be very flat, they still affect the aerodynamics on the M2 Coup, particularly at racetrack speed. This meant having to come up with suitable countermeasures to compensate for the disruption to the aerodynamics.
Inspired by the M4 GTS, they developed an easily adjustable rear wing made of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic for the MotoGP Safety Car. This improved the airflow, which had been disrupted by the light bar on the roof, thus reducing the amount of lift on the rear axle.
Finally, a racing bonnet latch was fitted, and because the MotoGP Safety Car will also be used in overseas races, a battery master switch and fuel-pumping device help to guarantee safety when being transported by air.
Shortly before the end of the project, the attention switched back to the upholsterers. Many trim parts in the interior were re-upholstered – a task that required considerable effort. Again, it is hard to imagine the amount of work involved, as new unfinished parts were required for all the trims. These then had to be covered with leather or Alcantara, before being welded using ultrasound.
Many of the prototype parts on the new highlight of the Safety Car fleet feature the colour gold. As well as the basic paintwork in Alpine White and the typical BMW M livery, the car also features striking gold components, such as the roll cage, wheels, brake calipers, rear wing mounts, seat brackets, steering wheel spokes and contrast stitching. The golden badge in the decorative trim is proof that the staff in the M factory give their full attention to even the smallest of details. It features a special engraving, underscoring the fact that the new M2 MotoGP Safety Car is one of a kind.