2021 is going to get all the more exciting for motorsport enthusiasts as the MotoGP season is about to get kicked off at the Losail International Circuit. If you are an ardent fan of the sport, you might have noticed a cool set of four wheels accompanying the MotoGP riders at the circuit, otherwise known as safety cars. Their job is to lead racers on warmup laps at the start of races or come out to slow down the action if a yellow flag situation arises.
Talking about safety cars, it is BMW who has been the constant in MotoGP since 1999. For 2021, BMW’s armada of safety fleet will include the likes of an M3, an M4, an M5 CS and wait for it…. an M 1000 RR Safety Bike!
Specs and features
Automobiles that take birth out of a performance division of a manufacturer are something else altogether. ‘M’ is one such division and belongs to BMW. Performance cars which get adorned with the tag are a dream for many of us. BMW tried their hand at creating a performance division for their motorcycles too and dubbed it as HP4 but it didn’t see much success. So the German manufacturer decided to lend the ‘M’ division to its motorcycles too and the first product to come out is the BMW M1000RR.
As the name suggests, the M1000RR is based on the S1000RR, which is already considered as one of the best litre-class superbikes available in the world. Unsurprisingly, it comes with power, more torque, less weight, more powerful brakes, a lot of carbon parts and yes, winglets, of course. The lending of ‘M’ moniker has resulted in increased power. The inline-four motor is tweaked to churn out 212 horsepower at 14,500rpm—up from the “base” S that produces 205 horsepower at 13,000rpm—and 83 lb-ft of torque at 11,000rpm. The redline has also got up to 15,100 RPM.
Another aspect that makes it a faster machine than the standard model is its 4kg lower kerb weight – 192kg. There have been some modifications to the chassis as well and BMW has tweaked it to enhance its overall riding dynamics. Both the 45-mm upside-down fork and the rear strut and swingarm are “optimized” with a slightly wider steering head angle and longer swingarm that increase the wheelbase by 0.7 inches and the ride height at the back by a fifth of an inch. Like we mentioned earlier, the winglets have made their way here too. BMW says that the winglets development took part on track and in BMW’s wind tunnel, and they managed to produce enough aerodynamic downforce to get faster lap times with the new M1000RR. Of course, they are made of carbon fibre.
The model also becomes the first bike in the line-up to receive a set of M brakes that includes two 320-mm discs with four-piston calipers at the front and a 220-mm disc with a two-piston caliper at the back. The 17-inch wheels are now made of carbon and clad in 120/70 ZR 17 and 200/55 ZR 17 tires front and back, respectively. On the electronics front, it comes with two adjustable throttle curves, five riding modes, launch control, dynamic traction control, hill-start control, pit lane limiter, navigation, and a 6.5-inch TFT display.
“The safety car fleet is the focal point of our involvement in the MotoGP and we are very proud to be starting the season with four new vehicles for the first time in our 20-year history as ‘Official Car of MotoGP’,” BMW M CEO Markus Flasch said in a statement.
“Our three new safety cars are based on production models, which deliver outstanding performance and driving dynamics that make them ideally suited to appear in the MotoGP. They will be joined by the new BMW M 1000 RR as the safety bike. The first M model on two wheels has been developed in motorsport and will meet the most exacting requirements on the racetrack. We are looking forward to the season-opener in Qatar and seeing our new fleet in action.”