The 2015 Moto GP World Championship will feature, as was the case last year, a BMW M4 Coupe as its official Safety Car. Since 1999, BMW M has been through all of the intervening 17 seasons as the “Official Car of MotoGP”. So confident are MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports with their partnership with BMW M that they have confirmed to extend their alliance up until the end of the 2020 season, securing a partnership that will last at least for 20 years.
This year’s black 2015 edition is a departure from the usual white liveries of BMW’s previous safety cars and while there are some boxes left unchecked on the optional extras form available from BMW M, we get a peek at some interesting new technologies here first prior to their consumer availability.
Under the bonnet we find a deceptively familiar S55 3.0 liter twin-turbo straight-six engine, output stands at 431 hp and 550 Nm, but BMW has fitted it with an innovative water injection system. This results in the thermal tolerances being significantly raised, enabling the engine to remain in the more extreme levels of performance for longer, more efficiently, and with significantly less component degradation. Power and torque is delivered more effectively due to the higher charging pressure and an earlier ignition point, optimizing the performance and consumption of the twin-turbo engine under full throttle. In addition, the cooler process temperatures reduce hazardous substances, particularly nitrogen oxide, forming.
To ensure consistent cooling within an efficient and compact package, BMW M Division engineers chose a layout with three injection valves in the plenum chamber, each responsible for two cylinders. In the boot of the M4 MotoGP Safety Car sits a freeze-proof water tank (approximately 5 liters), water pump, valves, together with the electronically controlled sensor array actuating elements. The water supply will have to be refilled after continuous heavy use such as that on a race track. Refill intervals are considerably longer during normal driving.
For safety, the water injection system works in tandem with onboard automatic diagnostics, so should the water tank be empty or some components were to malfunction, appropriate measures can be taken to protect the power unit such as cancelling supercharging pressure and ignition point, enabling the engine to continue operation albeit with reduced performance.
There are many different ways that this new technology can benefit BMW’s entire range and from what we are hearing, this technology is far too beneficial to not trickle down. But before that, we’re looking forward to a future M production model utilizing this new water injection system.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.