BMW i just blew the lid off the Formula E Safety Car

What happens when you launch a shiny, new ABB FIA Formula E Championship Safety Car in the super car capital of the world? The answer comes in the shape of the new topless BMW i8 roadster, which takes the title as the world's first open top Safety Car.

Thought the current BMW i8 Coupe Safety Car was a little too standard? Well, the Munich-based manufacturer just made it a whole lot more interesting after it lifted the lid on the new BMW i Roadster Safety Car at a special unveiling in Monaco.

With no roof and a radically reduced windscreen, the new one-off takes the title as the world's first topless Safety Car. Modified for improved performance on the circuits of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the roadster sits 15mm lower than the production model with M Carbon Ceramic Brakes and stiffer suspension, to help it keep pace with all 22 new Gen2 Formula E cars. 

"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, said Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. 

"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.”

On the outside, a front splitter and a rear wing increase the roadster's downforce, while a bespoke light bar sits neatly behind the seats, ensuring the i8 makes its presence known during sessions. In the cockpit, a communication and GPS antenna make up the communication system, while the rear-view camera lets Safety Car pilot Bruno Correia keep an eye on the pack behind. 

“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 Dr. Robert Irlinger, Head of BMW i.

"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."

After the open top course car made its debut ahead of the 2019 Monaco E-Prix, expect the roadster to be a regular feature at the Berlin (May 25), Bern (June 22) and New York City (July 13 and 14) E-Prix. Something tells us our safety car driver will be hoping for a few more dry races...