BMW has been the Official Car of MotoGP since 1999. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, BMW rolled out the newest safety car for the FIM’s top-level racing series: the new BMW M5. The monster sport sedan made its racing debut in the first race of a special MotoGP season starting at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar from March 16 to 18.
In all, seven vehicles from BMW M GmbH will serve as the safety fleet for MotoGP. “I would like to thank Dorna Sports for the trust that has been placed in us for two decades now,” said Frank van Meel, the head of BMW M GmbH. “Such a long and successful partnership is extremely rare in sports, and we are proud of this special anniversary.
“When we became a partner of MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports in 1999,” he continued, “we wanted to put all our know-how, our innovative motorsport technologies, and new ideas at the service of safety in MotoGP. Nothing has changed to this day; even twenty years later, Dorna Sports has a strong partner at its side at BMW M GmbH, for whom the safety of pilots is a top priority.”
The latest BMW M5 had its world premiere last August. The motoring world expressed a great interest in the car because it was the first M5 delivered with an M version of xDrive all-wheel drive. That helps to put the M5’s 600 horsepower more securely on the pavement, but it caused apprehension in some rear-wheel-drive purists. Fortunately for them, BMW delivered the car with a rear-drive-only off switch so they could get as tail-happy as they wanted.
The Official MotoGP Safety Car won’t be doing much drifting, however. Its job is to keep the pack together at a brisk pace when the full-course yellow flags are out.
The other M cars provided by BMW M for the MotoGP safety fleet include an M3 that can also be used as a safety car. M4 and M2 safety cars will be at the disposal of the Safety Officer and Race Director. The MotoGP Medical Car will be an X5 M; also available will be a BMW M6 Gran Coupé safety car.
This is a motorcycle series after all, so BMW will also send two BMW S1000 RR safety bikes.
Incidentally, one of the motorcycle racers will take home a BMW car at the end of the season: the BMW M Award. For the sixteenth year in a row, the rider with the best overall results in qualifying will receive a special BMW M automobile. The exact model will be announced later in the year.
The fact that BMW and MotoGP have been together for twenty years in the wild world of motorsports is exceptional—just as exceptional as the amazing M5 that is the series’ new primary safety car. And we would still like to see the car’s paint scheme as an available option on M5s for sale here.—Scott Blazey
[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]