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BMW's New M8 Flagship Receives Vital New Assignment

M Performance / Comments

It'd take nothing less to set the pace for MotoGP.

The new BMW M8 is assuredly many things: fast, powerful, luxurious, expensive, and eminently capable on both road and track. As the flagship model of one of Germany's foremost automakers, it's also bound to be safe. But BMW is taking that a step further with the vehicle you see here.

It's the new safety car that the Bavarian automaker is rolling out for MotoGP, and the latest in a long line it's furnished for the two-wheeled racing series since it first signed on as its official support-car provider 20 years ago.

The new BMW M8 MotoGP Safety Car is based on the recently introduced M8 Competition coupe, which means it packs a prodigious 625 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, produced by its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 and channeled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. But as you can see, it's been thoroughly upgraded to set the pace at MotoGP races (starting this weekend at the Red Bull Ring in Austria).

The long list of components includes a titanium exhaust with carbon-fiber tips, a full array of carbon-fiber aero components, a beefier steering wheel, Recaro racing buckets, a full roll cage, a battery cut-off switch, and an on-board fire extinguisher.

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It also gets a special livery, auxiliary lighting, and the rear wing from the M8 GTE racer. And though not detailed, you can bet it has special radio communication equipment to stay in touch with race control.

"The BMW M8 and the BMW M8 GTE were developed in parallel, and these racing genes distinguish the BMW M8 models in all areas," said Markus Flasch, president of BMW M GmbH. "That's why it was a logical step for us to choose the BMW M8 Competition as a basis for our new MotoGP safety car."