Racing superbikes, derived from the road-going machines that any rider can buy off the showroom floor, are special machines, designed to put more focus on racing at speed as opposed to any pretense of being an approachable motorcycle. For 2017, BMW Motorrad has launched the 2017 BMW Motorrad HP4 Race, intended to be the lightest, most high-tech, race weapon.
With a limited worldwide production run of only 750 units, each HP4 Race is hand-built by a special team in Berlin, Germany. What sets the HP4 Race apart is the use of carbon-fibre in the frame and wheels, bringing it in at 171 kg fully-fuelled and ready to ride.
Compliant with articles 6.2 and 7.2 of the Endurance and World Superbike (WSBK) championship rules, the 999 cc, DOHC 16-valve, inline-four puts out 215 hp at 13,900 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm. A six-speed spur tooth gearbox – with secondary ratios, diverse pinions and sprockets included – gets power to the ground, with an anti-hop wet clutch as standard.
As is the norm for BMW Motorrad machines, the HP4 Race comes with a full suite of electronics, including 15-level traction and engine braking control. This also includes four ride modes – Wet, Intermediate, Dry 1 and Dry 2 – while an on-board 2D datalogger is included with lap timing and GPS.
Rounding out the electronics suite is a pit lane speed limiter, launch control, wheelie control, spring travel and brake pressure sensors. The HP4 Race shows its competition orientation with other items such as adjustable eight-position footrests, adjustable handlebars, seat height adjustment, adjustable steering head angle and swingarm centre of rotation, reverse shift pattern and up-and-down quickshifter.
On the suspension side of things, Ohlins does the job, with an FGR300 Superbike World Cup fork coupled with an Ohlins SD052 steering damper in front, and an Ohlins TTX 36 GP absorber at the back. For endurance racing, the HP 4 Race comes with a quick-release front wheel, with the fork legs being able to be twisted out of the way for fast wheel changes.
To be expected at this level of performance is Brembo braking, using a pair of GP4-R callipers with titanium pistons and 320 mm diameter rotors in front, activated by a Brembo RCS 19×18 master cylinder. At the back, a four-piston Brembo calliper – also using titanium pistons – is installed, grabbing a 220 mm disc.
The theme of lightness continues throughout the HP4 Race, with carbon-fibre bodywork and panels, along with a brushed aluminium fuel tank that holds 17.5-litres of the good stuff. Coming only in BMW Motorsport racing colours, there is no word on pricing for the 2017 BMW HP4 Race, but we can safely assume, based on the “standard” HP4’s previously published price of around RM145,000, this limited race machine is not going to be cheap.