At the Formula E Monaco E-Prix, which will kick off this Saturday, a new safety car will be revealed — the BMW i8 Roadster. To be honest, it’s not an entirely unusual choice for the Formula E Safety Car. The i8 Coupe was the previous Formula E Safety Car, so seems like a natural progression to have the newer version of the car replace it. However, this is the first time in history that a safety car lacks a roof.

Being the first safety car with an open-top cabin, the BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car represents the all-electric racing series well.

“BMW i and Formula E are synonymous with innovation, making them excellently suited to each other. This project is another very good example of the pioneering spirit at BMW i and in Formula E,” said Robert Irlinger, Head of BMW i. “In implementing the BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car, the BMW i engineers, designers and communications crew have dared to explore new horizons and create an absolutely unique car. The development team behind the Safety Car is akin to a start-up. Our engineers got creative within their own ranks and assembled it on top of their regular jobs. In doing so, they have achieved something completely new. I am very grateful to the FIA and Formula E for showing such enthusiasm towards our innovation and for making it possible to use the BMW i8 Roadster as an official Safety Car.”

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The BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car will be unveiled at the Yacht Club De Monaco, with a few special guests in attendance. Pierre Casiraghi, vice president of the Yacht Club will be there, along with Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.

“I’d like to thank the BMW i family and the Yacht Club de Monaco for hosting a great event to premiere this new addition to the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car has a striking design – something which differentiates it from anything we’ve seen before, and what better setting for its presentation than at the Monaco E-Prix. BMW has been a partner since the inaugural season, and their continued support as a vehicle partner and now as a team shows their commitment to electric mobility.” said Agag.

This new BMW i8 Roadster Safety Car as been modified a bit from the production car but, interestingly, it didn’t really need any structural bracing, even without a roof. That’s because of the car’s carbon fiber passenger cell. Though, there are some modifications made to the i8 Roadster for Safety Car duty. It’s been lowered, given a shorter windshield and a new FIA-approved roll bar. Along with that, it received new M Carbon Ceramic Brakes, a new front splitter and a rear wing.

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Safety car-specific modifications include a light bar that’s been added above the rear wing, a communications antenna, GPS antenna and a communication system inside the car.

It also gets a new livery, which borrows elements from the blue and white BMW Roundel and the BMW iFE.18 Formula E race car. It also features blue and purple accents, as those are the colors of raw electricity. 

The BMW i8 as the Formula E Safety Car isn’t anything new but the i8 Roadster is interesting as it marks the first time a racing series has used a convertible for the job. So it’s a bit groundbreaking, just as the entire Formula E racing series is. Plus, it looks cool.