MotoGP races are inherently dangerous events where the risk of injury is very real because of the high speeds involved. For this reason, and the fact you’ll usually see one in other motorsports, you may wonder whether MotoGP has a safety car.
MotoGP does have a safety car to look after the safety of the riders and treat them if required. In case of a crash or any other unforeseen incident, the medical team in the safety car can provide immediate medical treatment. The MotoGP safety car follows the bikes for the first lap of the race.
The safety car was introduced to MotoGP in 1993 and has been an integral part of it ever since. Join us below as we take a look at safety cars and why they’re so important in a sport like MotoGP.
Why Is There A Safety Car In MotoGP?
There is a safety car in MotoGP so that the medical team can rapidly respond to any incidents on the track. In the event of any incident, the medical team is followed by an ambulance to treat the rider and transport them to a medical clinic or hospital if required.
The safety team has to respond instantly when there is a crash to ensure that the rider gets prompt medical attention. Volunteer marshals are stationed all along the entire track so that any incident that takes place is reported in seconds. After an incident, it is the duty of the marshals to inform all other parties and clear the racetrack to give the medical team priority.
If an incident is particularly serious, the red flag is waved informing all the remaining riders to return to their respective pit boxes. Before the race, the safety car is used for track inspection to ensure that there is no debris, water, or any other obstacles that could impede the race or cause a safety issue.
What Kind Of Car Is The MotoGP Safety Car?
The MotoGP safety car is a BMW M2 CS Racing. BMW has been the official safety car of MotoGP since 1993. Over the years, the safety cars from BMW M have evolved as well. In 2021, BMW M provided a fleet of 3 safety cars along with a safety bike in Qatar for the Barwa Grand Prix to be held in Losail.
Before the Qatar Grand Prix, the CEO of BMW M GmbH, Markus Flasch, said, “The safety car fleet is the focal point of our involvement in the MotoGP, and we are very proud to be starting the season with four new vehicles for the first time in our 20-year history as ‘Official Car of MotoGP.” The vehicles provided by BMW are some of their best models available.
Safety Cars In Years Gone By
MotoGP safety cars of the past include:
- 2007 – BMW Z4 coupe
- 2011 – BMW Series M
- 2015 – BMW M4 coupe
- 2016 – BMW M2
Who Drives The MotoGP Safety Car?
In MotoGP, there are actually 2 safety cars, named Omega 1 and Omega 2. The lead car has been driven by Carlos Ezpeleta for many years, while both cars carry a medical team. The cars have all the necessary medical equipment to attend to the rider in the event of an incident.
KEY POINTS• MotoGP has a safety car to attend to any on-track incidents and provide medical attention
• The safety car is a BMW M2 CS Racing model
• The car starts the race behind the bikes and follows them for the first lap
• This is because the first lap is when incidents are most likely to occur
MotoGP Safety Car vs F1 Safety Car
In MotoGP, the major use of the safety car is before the race to ensure that the track is in pristine condition, and during the race, it is used to transport the medical team and equipment to the site of any incidents. From 2021, BWM M started using a safety motorcycle as well which cuts down the time needed to respond to an incident.
The MotoGP safety car starts behind the pack of riders at the start of the race and follows them on the first lap. This is because the first lap is when the riders are most bunched up together and on colder tires, so accidents are more likely. After the first lap, the car pulls into the pits and is only deployed if there is an accident.
In F1, the dedicated medical car starts the first lap behind the pack of cars for a similar reason to the MotoGP safety car. This car can also be deployed if there is a serious incident involving a driver that needs medical attention. However, the Formula 1 safety car is deployed for different reasons.
If there is an incident or track conditions become too dangerous for full-speed racing (such as if it rains very heavily), the F1 safety car will be deployed. The cars then follow the safety car around the track at reduced speed until the track is cleared or once again deemed safe for racing.
The F1 Virtual Safety Car
If F1 Race Control thinks that the situation isn’t dire enough to warrant the full safety car, then a virtual safety car is used (VSC). The main purpose of VSC is to slow down all the cars to a predetermined speed until the track is clear, giving marshals time to clear the track in between the cars.
MotoGP has a safety car for similar reasons to other motorsports, with the main one being to provide on-track assistance to riders when there has been an incident or a crash. The MotoGP safety car is a BMW M2 CS Racing model, and it carries a full medical team to attend to accidents.