BMW M4 GTS DTM Safety Car-02

No better car for the job, really. The BMW M4 GTS, a 700-unit limited edition unveiled in October 2015, is the official 2016 DTM safety car. It’s built for the track, and can lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7:27.88, a time that puts the special M4 ahead of the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C, among other exotic cars.

According to the DTM rules “the DTM safety car is designed and adapted for high-performance driving on race circuits and is powerful enough to maintain the speeds at which other vehicles also participating in the event can be driven without an adverse effect on their racing capabilities.” The final part refers to keeping the tyres and brake systems of the race cars within an ideal temperature range. In short, the safety car has to be fast enough.

The BMW M4 GTS is powered by the M3/M4’s 3.0 litre turbo inline six with the addition of water injection technology (as tested by the 2015 MotoGP Safety Car on track) that raises output to 500 hp and 600 Nm from 431 hp and 550 Nm. Zero to 100 km/h is completed in a mere 3.8 seconds and top speed is limited to 305 km/h.

BMW M4 GTS DTM Safety Car-04

The seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch gearbox’s Drivelogic shift programs and Launch Control have been retuned to match the engine’s bigger output. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (265/35 R19 in front, 285/30 R20 at the rear) are as per the road M4 GTS, and they are mounted on forged and burnished M alloys in Acid Orange and unique star spoke styling.

Mandatory safety features for the DTM safety car are already fitted, in the form of the optional Clubsport Package available at no extra cost. This includes an Acid Orange roll bar, six-point seat belts adapted for racing and a fire extinguisher. The only additions to the safety car were lights on the roof, LED flashers in the front apron and flash mode for the LED headlamps. Stickers and radio, too.

Jürgen Kastenholz has been the official DTM safety car driver since 2010, and piloted the non-GTS BMW M4 Coupe DTM safety car for the past two years. He will debut the new safety car at the start of the 2016 DTM season in Hockenheim next month.