M's relationship with the MotoGP motorcycle racing series —20 years to be exact. To celebrate its 20th anniversary as the "official car of MotoGP," the M brand turned its latest and greatest, the , into a pace car for the upcoming season that starts this weekend in Qatar.
As you'd expect of a pace car (or safety car, as it's called in Europe), the M5 stands out with an M color scheme over a white base paint job. Wheels finished in gold with black accents, a roof-mounted light bar, and LED strobe lights in the lower front fascia complete the look. Like all new M5s, the pace car packs a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 making 592 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque that's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a performance all-wheel-drive system. BMW didn't say if this M5 gets any upgrades over its , but it did claim the pace car has been "optimized for use on the race track. "
Interestingly, the M5 won't be the only official MotoGP M car this coming season. BMW says its fleet of MotoGP-branded vehicles will include seven different models from the M portfolio. You can catch the M5 pace car's debut at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar from March 16-19 for the MotoGP season opener.