BMW is hitting the track with two very different kind of wheeled machines: an M4 GTS converted to safety-car duty for DTM, and a wheelchair for the US paralympics team.
The BMW i8 is a pretty impressive car, and a highly visible one at that. It's a great brand ambassador, but not just for BMW. It's really no surprise that Formula E chose it as the safety car from the electric racing series. And, for its duties at tracks around the word, the i8 safety car got some slick upgrades, including wireless charging capabilities courtesy of Qualcomm.
Ever since revealing the M4 on nearly five months ago, BMW has been hard at work getting its new muscle coupe out on the track. It's made a touring-car version to compete in DTM and a safety car to set the pace at MotoGP races, and now it's combined both into a new safety car for DTM as well.
With just 240 horsepower on tap, the Alfa Romeo 4C may not be the most powerful sports car on the market. But its lightweight construction ensures that it has a power-to-weight ratio better than cars with twice the output. In short, it belongs at the front of the pack, and that's just where it will be for this year's World Touring Car Championship.
BMW has some considerable racing prowess to crow about, and draws on those credentials to create models like the new M4. But it's not about to rest on the laurels it's won at the end of innumerable races past and present. Mere months after the release of its latest performance coupe, BMW has already revealed a new M4 touring car for the DTM series, and has now unveiled its new M4 safety car for the MotoGP motorcycle championship.
All things considered, it's a pretty rare sight to see a stock car catch fire during a NASCAR race, but it happens. The racing can get pretty rough, after all, and they are powered by combustion engines – some of the most rudimentary still around, at that. But the pace car? Now that's another story.
This weekend a new era begins in American sports car racing with the Rolex 24 at Daytona to kick off the new United SportsCar Championship, the freshly inked union between the Grand Am and American Le Mans Series. There'll be a wide variety of machinery lining up on the grid at the Florida speedway, including race-ready versions of the sports cars you can drive on the road, plus Daytona Prototypes, Le Mans Prototypes and even the DeltaWing. But at the front of the pack will be the Audi R8 5.2 FS
The latest hotted-up safety car for DTM is the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series. If we'd been in a racing accident, we're not sure we'd trust the men who stepped out of a car that's half steroids, half Satan, but after 12 years of providing the safety cars (along with Audi) for the German touring car series, we'll assume Mercedes-Benz knows what it's doing.
Choosing a safety car to pace a racing series is tricky business that almost invariably results in either a constant flux of vehicles called into duty or playing favorites between the manufacturers taking part in the series. NASCAR changes its pace cars about as quickly as it changes tires. Formula One sticks with Mercedes-Benz machinery, and nobody seems to complain very much. But DTM bridges the gap with a slightly different approach.