BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car Driven By BMWBLOG
JUN 1 2016 BY ERIC LOVEDAY
The folks over at BMWBLOG were provided with a rare opportunity to check out and test drive the BMW i8 Formula E Safety Car.
This particular i8 features a tweaked suspension, along with other changes that differentiate it from the standard i8.
As BMWBLOG explains:
“Compared to the first generation i8 Safety Car, the improved i8 2.0 Safety Car gets a new approximately 10 kWh battery with a 26Ah li-ion cells similar to the BMW iPerformance models and a charging rate of 7.2 kW.”
“But the i8 Safety Car not only gets a faster charging rate and higher electric range, its electric motor also receives an additional 15kW of power for a total of roughly 105 kW or more than 140 horsepower. The total power output for the i8 racing car is around 380 horsepower while torque is rated at more than 570 Nm (420 lb-ft).”
“For Safety Car duty, the i8 has gotten some chassis revisions, namely new upper wishbones, new Bilstein suspension and a 15 mm lower ride height. There’s also been some tweaked aerodynamics, new AP Racing brakes (six piston calipers up front with four pistons at the rear), 20” ATS Racing wheels, increased ventilation and lots of tire width (245/35 front, 285/30 rear).”
With all those modifications, is the i8 Safety Car leaps and bounds above the standard i8? To find out, BMWBLOG hit the track in the Formula E i8. Here are some highlights from the track test drive:
“The story wouldn’t complete without a few laps on the track which was setup in the heart of Berlin, in AlexanderPlatz. The idea was not to go full blast on the car, but rather see if I would notice any differences from the standard i8 – not a difficult task considering the extensive changes.”
“The i8 Safety Car with all its chassis tweaks could be a competent racing car – either with an hybrid powertrain or all electric. The car follows your direction instantly and the heavy steering wheel reminded me of old school BMWs.”
“The high-performance brakes take a while to get used to it – they are grippy, powerful and confident – exactly what you’d expect from a race car.”
After driving the i8 on the track, BMW inquired about the potential for a pure electric i8 in the future. BMW spokesperson Manfred Poschenrieder provided a partial answer:
“I cannot confirm plans for a future fully electric BMW i8 safety car. Requirements on a safety car are very specific and performance oriented especially made for the race track. However, our engineers would be able to build such a prototype. We’ll see.”