Top 5 safety cars

BMW reveals 2016 M4 GTS DTM pacesetter — we remember some oldies
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May 31, 2016
Supplied
Supplied(1/6)
1. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT
1. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT(2/6)
2. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
2. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray(3/6)
3. BMW M6
3. BMW M6(4/6)
4. Audi R8
4. Audi R8(5/6)
5. Wiesmann MF5 GT
5. Wiesmann MF5 GT(6/6)

BMW has just unveiled its 2016 M4 GTS DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) safety car for the start of the new season this month, and with a very healthy 493bhp, it should have no problem in keeping the field in check.

Based on the M4 GTS, its 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six (mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sending the power to the rear wheels) has been tuned to produce a whopping 600Nm of torque (that’s 50Nm more than the regular M3/M4) so it’ll cope with the German racing series pretty well.

It’ll pack the usual safety features such as a roll cage, a six-point harness and a fire extinguisher — along with a roof-mounted LED light bar and flashing LED lights in the lower air dam — while the white body’s been covered in DTM decals. It looks rather fetching and just 700 are to be built, and it got us thinking of some other safety cars with equal amounts of looks and power. Here’s our top five…

1. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT

AMG’s been providing safety cars for the daddy of all racing series, Formula 1, for over 16 years. The SLS AMG GT (it replaced the SLS AMG — we still miss that beautiful 6.2-litre V8…) features a 510bhp 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 and hit 100kph from rest in just 3.8 seconds. It sure looks the part what with a huge orange light bar on the roof, strobe-effect head- and taillights, and a TV camera inside. If that’s not enough, it also gets former DTM pilot Bernd Mayländer behind the wheel.

2. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The 91st edition of the Indianapolis 500 needed a quick car to pace the race, so naturally, the most American sportscar was handed the task. The Corvette Stingray was painted in Laguna Blue with loads of Indy 500 logos along with the requisite safety gear. Otherwise, it was a stock 2014 ’Vette with a 430bhp 6.2-litre V8 mated to a seven-speed manual, meaning, it was pretty cool as is…

3. BMW M6

Bimmer put the two-door into service for last year’s MotoGP championship and then decided to give the four-door Gran Coupé a run out for this season. With 552bhp produced from the twin-turbo V8 — along with the usual strobe lights, spoilers and BMW’s trademark teal, blue and red stripe livery — it had loads of show and, yep, go.

4. Audi R8

It’s been used in DTM, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the ADAC GT Masters. Clearly then, everyone thinks very highly of the 420bhp mid-engined R8. And so they should; Ingolstadt’s supercar didn’t need much tweaking to pace the field and is one of the most exotic safety cars you can get.

5. Wiesmann MF5 GT

But, the R8 isn’t the rarest. No, that honour went to the Wiesmann MF5 GT, which was used as the official safety car for the 2009 FIA GT Championship. It looked great in that bright yellow paint with black wheels, and loads of decals all over the body. It was an intriguing choice but with a high-revving 500bhp V10 (borrowed from the M5 back in the day…) propelling it to 100kph in less than four seconds, it sure had the pace to stay ahead of the GT1-spec cars.