Because nothing says “safety” like chopping off the windscreen.
Impressive a feat of engineering as it may be, some Bimmerphiles don't hold the i8 in as high esteem as the legendary M1 that essentially was its spiritual predecessor. But this one looks every bit as awesome, if not more.
BMW Motorsport built this one-off i8 speedster specifically for the track, to serve (alongside the existing coupe version) as a safety car for the Formula E Championship. In the process, it not only equipped the car with the requisite special equipment, but amped up the aero package and chopped down the windscreen as well.
Presented at the Yacht Club de Monaco ahead of the race this past weekend, BMW's new safety car is based on the i8 Roadster. But as you can see, it takes the recipe that much further. Billed as "the first Safety Car in the world that can be used with an open cockpit,” it features a shortened windscreen and a giant rear wing, atop which the light bar is positioned for all-around visibility on the track. It also sits 15 millimeters (0.6 inches) closer to the track surface, and packs carbon-ceramic brakes, an FIA-approved roll bar, and a unique livery.
It also incorporates special communication equipment to keep in touch with race-control and a rear-view camera to watch the single-seaters queuing up behind when pressed into duty. But it's otherwise mechanically identical to the i8 coupe and roadster you can pick up at your local BMW dealer.
"In implementing the BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car, the BMW i engineers, designers and communications crew have dared to explore new horizons and create an absolutely unique car,” said BMW i chief Dr. Robert Irlinger. "Our engineers got creative within their own ranks and assembled it on top of their regular jobs. In doing so, they have achieved something completely new.”