Things must be a bit slow over at the BMW design studio.
Over the weekend, BMW revealed its all-new (well, kind of new) safety car for the Formula E pure-electric racing series: The BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car, which joins its roofed i8 Coupé counterpart as a safety car for the racing series’ fifth season.
I wager it’s been a bit slow at the design center because the i8 Roadster Safety Car is one the brand designers had to craft after they clocked out of their normal design duties. That said, it is essentially a BMW i8 Roadster with a chopped windshield, a big rear wing bolted to the trunk, and some racing livery slapped on the side.
Intriguingly, BMW claims it is the “first Safety Car in the world that can be used with an open cockpit.” However, it doesn’t specify how it’s been able to get such a prestigious designation. I presume it’s because Bimmer asked Formula E officials really nicely.
“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,” Dr. Robert Irlinger, Head of BMW i, said in a prepared statement. “The development team behind the Safety Car is akin to a start-up. Our engineers got creative within their own ranks and assembled it on top of their regular jobs … I am very grateful to the FIA and Formula E for showing such enthusiasm towards our innovation and for making it possible to use the BMW i8 Roadster as an official Safety Car.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the car, aside from its appearance, is that BMW claims the i8 Roadster (a hybrid sports car) achieves 117 miles per gallon. That’s on the European drive cycle, so it’s a bit generous.
Regardless, it’s a cool car, Hopefully its existence will generate at least a bit of media coverage for the Formula E racing series. As an side: If you’re at all interested in electric cars and their future, you should be following the Formula E series. It’s where a lot of the next generation of EV tech is going to emerge from.