MIKE LA FUENTE: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF MOTO GP

20.07.2018

Not only for the World Endurance Championship but for basically every circuit-based, motorised sport, there is some form of safety car. For the WEC, this function is fulfilled by Pablo Couceiro and his fleet of Porsche 911 Turbos. During Moto GP, there is a complete catalogue of BMW M-cars on site. We talked to Mike about his job and the difference between being a safety car driver for either a two-wheel or four-wheel competition.

 

 

 

MIKE LA FUENTE: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF MOTO GP

So as a safety car driver, your job is to intervene if something goes wrong. But what is the procedure and is it different from any other sport?

 

Many things are similar. We start with one safety car up front which does a final sighting lap. Then when the warmup lap starts, we take the bikes out on track and after the real race starts, the medical car follows. That’s where the biggest difference lies. The role of the medical car is unfortunately more important in Moto GP because we have a few more physical injuries, especially during the first lap.

 

How do you prepare for this extra risk?

 

At every Moto GP event we have our own doctor on site, along with two local doctors. After the opening lap, the first medical car waits at the end of the pit lane and another one somewhere in the middle of the track.

 

 

 

MIKE LA FUENTE: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF MOTO GP

I see an entire catalogue of BMW M-products lined up. How many cars does the Moto GP have? Are they different from the stock models?

 

Yes, we have some BMW M2s, an M4, an M3 as well as two M5s. Every weekend we have a total of six cars. They are mostly stock, but there have been made some changes to the suspension and brakes and exhaust. They also have a little more power, but not that much. Just some basic preparation to take a beating on all these racetracks across the world.

 

That’s a lot of cars. Do they have specific functions?

 

Yes. The M2 is usually used for our sighting laps and the M5s are usually our regular safety car and our medical car. The others are used either as a backup or for things like VIP laps with Motul Superfans for instance.

 

 

 

MIKE LA FUENTE: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF MOTO GP

The M5 is the newest addition to your fleet. As a big saloon car, doesn’t it scream track machine?

 

No. Although it’s a bit heavier than the cars we normally prefer, it more than makes up for this with its turbocharged power, which makes it a joy to drive. It’s also very useful as a medical car because it just has a lot more room.

 

 

 

MIKE LA FUENTE: THE GUARDIAN ANGEL OF MOTO GP

Pictures credit : @Frederik Herregods

 

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