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BMW i8 gets Performance Upgrade for Motorsport – as Safety Car at Formula E

This is the first BMW i8 build only for one purpose: The rule the race track! Get all the information about the performance prototyp of the new BMW i8 as Official FIA Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car.

When we interviewed Henrik Wenders, product manager for BMW i, back in 2013, he stated: “The BMW i8 is not built for the race track”. And since this is still appropriate for the normal BMW i8, there is one special prototype out there – with just the right equipment, actually beeing build for the race track!

The BMW i8 will continue as the Official FIA Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car through the second season of Formula E. The modifications to the two new Safety Cars are far more performance-oriented and they have been adapted to meet the FIA’s technical regulations ahead of the new season, which gets underway in Beijing on 17 October.

BMW i8 as Safety Car at the Formula E 2016

The new BMW i8 Safety Car is the world’s first vehicle equipped for inductive charging with 7.2 kilowatts of power using Qualcomm Halo™ prototype technology . This allows the high-voltage battery of the BMW i8 to be fully recharged in around one hour only.

  • Range on electric power only (EU): up to 37 kilometres (23 miles)
  • Overall range: over 600 kilometres (373 miles)
  • System output of FIA Formula E Safety Car: approx. 380 hp
  • Maximum system torque: > 570 Nm (420 lb-ft)
  • Top speed: 250 km/h / 155 mph (using electric power only: 120 km/h / 75 mph)
  • 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph): < 4.4 seconds; 80 – 120 km/h (50 – 75 mph): 2.6 seconds

Modifications to comply with FIA Formula E requirements:

  • Certified safety cell – bolted and bonded to load-bearing elements of the body. Use of patented tube joints.
  • New bank of LED lights and stroboscope light
  • FIA radio equipment and transponder integrated into the vehicle electronics
  • 2 x additional 12V sockets with 25A fuse
  • Carbon-fibre racing seats
  • Carbon-fibre centre console
  • Six-point safety belt
  • Removal of interior trim and airbags
  • Modified trim elements on safety cell
  • Modified position of safety belts
  • Official decals

BMW i8 as Safety Car at the Formula E 2016 - Detail

Technical modifications to the new BMW i8 Safety Car over the standard production car:


  • Modified chassis mount points and upper wishbones
  • Custom-made Bilstein springs / dampers
  • 15 mm lowered chassis

BMW i8 as Safety Car at the Formula E 2016 - Detail

Wheels / tyres

  • 20” ATS racing rims: black, powder-coated
    (front: 245/ 35 R20, rear: 285/ 30 R20)
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport sports tyres


  • M3 GT4 brake discs and callipers (six-piston at the front, four-piston at the rear)
  • Improved ventilation / cooling for the front discs
    Direct in-flow of air via the front spoiler and deflector plates
  • Modification to the rear section of the underbody (additional air intakes, spoiler) and airflow to the brake discs via supply tube and deflector plates


  • Kidney grille split at half height
    Modified front-end airflow
  • 850-watt fan (front)
  • Number of dynamic pressure flaps in fan shroud increased
  • Modified bonnet outlet cover and airflow
  • Modified air deflectors
  • New air deflectors and air deflector plate on the underfloor of the car
  • Rear window replaced by plastic cover with air outlets
  • Sound absorption panelling for the engine removed
  • Two additional fans in the engine compartment
  • C-pillar ventilation removed
  • Lower-mounted engine soundproofing removed
  • New anti-roll bar bearings
  • Extension of diffuser below the combustion engine (75 mm)
  • Heat insulation for the exhaust system
  • Additional carbon-fibre spoiler lips at the rear
  • Additional diffusers on the underfloor of the car (front and rear)

High-voltage battery

  • Battery cell modified for testing purposes, now has higher electric output (+ approx. 10 kW)

BMW i8 as Safety Car at the Formula E 2016 - Interior

Modified roll cage

  • Seamlessly drawn precision pipe (25 CrMo4)
  • Yield strength: 640 Nm/mm²
  • Tensile strength: 695 Nm/mm²
  • Bolts quenched and tempered
  • Roll cage weight: 48 kilograms
  • First FIA-certified BMW i8 roll cage

New inductive prototype charging system (Qualcomm Halo™)

  • BMW i8 FIA Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car is the world’s first vehicle to offer 7.2 kW inductive charging based on Qualcomm Halo™ prototype technology
  • Tested under all extreme climatic conditions
  • EMC-approved

Published: 25. August 2015

About the author

Thomas Gigold has been writing about cars for more than ten years. He loves long road trips, is father of three and lives in Germany. Thomas is the Editor-in-chief at the MOTOR SHOW BLOG. Learn more.

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