BMW's M Division has unleashed a track version of its upcoming 1-series M Coupe, which made its debut as the 2011 MotoGP safety car at the season-opening MotoGP race in Qatar on 20 March.
BMW 1-series M Coupe MotoGP safety car – the lowdown
Visually there have been some changes over the roadgoing 1M, which is due to go on sale in April 2011. The new louvred bonnet is made from carbon fibre, there’s an additional front splitter fitted to the bumper, plus polycarbonate side and rear windows, and an adjustable rear wing. There’s a light bar on the roof for official signaling duties and the package is wrapped in a suitably-loud M colour scheme
Inside there's a partially stripped-out interior with a bolt-in roll cage replacing the rear seats, a pair of lightweight Recaro racing buckets up front with six-point harnesses, and a fire extinguisher.
The suspension gets a track upgrade with adjustable dampers and suspension geometry to suit each of the 18 MotoGP circuits. Black 19-inch wheels and tyres (255/35 front and 285/35 rear) hide uprated six-piston fixed-caliper racing brakes.
The only major part of the car left unmodified is the drivetrain. Under that vented bonnet sits the standard 3.0-litre, 335bhp turbocharged straight-six engine, coupled to a six-speed manual transmission.
MotoGP? Wouldn't they have a safety bike? Why use a BMW 1-series M Coupe?
And just where on a safety bike would you fit the light bar? BMW M has been supplying support vehicles to MotoGP since 1999, with the 1-series M Coupe marking 13 years as official supplier. Apart from the 1M, BMW has also supplied an X6M and an M3 as reserve safety cars for 2011. The MotoGP organising team has been given a BMW X5M for the safety officer and a BMW ActiveHybrid X6 for the stewards. The MotoGP medical car is a BMW 535i Touring, and providing additional support are two safety bikes: a BMW S1000 RR and a BMW HP2 Sport.
Any chance of a harder, faster 1-series M Coupe?
Very little. BMW's M Division has considered both a convertible and CSL version of the 1-series M, but its engineers are doubtful there's demand for the former, and if the case couldn't be made for an M3 CSL then the latter (potentially priced at the same level as an M3) won't see the light of day either.
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