BMW is providing the safety car for this year’s MotoGP. Frankly, their vehicle is so good that it’s in constant danger of showing up the actual racing machines. The unique BMW M4 safety car is something pretty special, even by the manufacturer’s usual high standards. Compared to its commercially-available counterparts, it has increased horsepower and acceleration, and lowered emissions. But what makes it such a powerful and efficient vehicle?
A peak under the bonnet
The BMW M4 safety car features a 3-litre turbocharged ‘TwinPower’ engine with six cylinders. Without any assistance, this engine manages 425 bhp. However, the vehicle also features a water injection system that boosts its horsepower to between 459 bph and 500 bph. This system gives the car some truly tremendous advantages. It can go from 0 mph to 62 mph in a jaw-dropping 4.1 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. Yet, in spite of this, it is a surprisingly fuel-efficient automobile: it is capable of a very respectable 34 miles per gallon. But how can the water injection system be responsible for all of these benefits? How, exactly, does it work?
The water injection system explained
The H2O isn’t pushed directly into the engine (that would be disastrous!), but into the turbo system. This cools the air in the pre-combustion chamber, making it denser and more oxygen-rich. As a result, the combustion is made more violent, which boosts the engine’s power without using up additional fuel. So the M4 safety car remains highly efficient while still possessing markedly more horsepower than its road-going commercial equivalent. The water injection is designed to kick-in only when the M4 exceeds 5,000 rpm in order to ensure that the system improves performance when the car is operating at the peak of its capabilities and therefore most needs the assistance.
A commercial future
Here at Big Motoring World, we think that the most exciting thing about the safety car is that ordinary drivers could eventually get their hands on it. A rumour has been circulating that the M4 safety vehicle is a precursor to a publicly-available M4 GTS, which would be as close to the actual MotoGP safety car as a commercial vehicle can reasonably get. We can’t yet speculate as to the accuracy of these rumours, but we can’t wait to find out if there’s any truth in them!