The BMW HP4 Race Launched - The Carbon-Fiber Revolution


BMW shocked everyone at the last EICMA motor show in Milan when it unveiled the carbon-framed HP4 Race. Now, a few months later, BMW has revealed the production version – and it’s everything we’d hoped for.

BMW Thailand didn’t want to tell us the price, but outside Thailand the BMW HP4 Race Carbon will go for about 3.2 million THB and with only 750 examples on offer, only a few of which are heading to South East Asian countries, it’s a showy demonstration of BMW’s technical prowess, with the carbon-fiber chassis as its centerpiece. But the firm’s commitment to carbon construction is such that this could well be a precursor to more mainstream road-going models.

BMW is pioneering three new carbon construction techniques in the HP4 Race.

The first, Carbonview, is for mainly cosmetic parts such as bodywork, and is a conventional hand lay-up method.

The second, Carboncore, creates much stronger parts, with the carbon fabrics put in a mold and the resin injected in.

Finally, Carbondrive is for parts such as the frame and wheels, and uses non-woven fabrics with continuous fibers. These pieces balance strength and rigidity, aiming to address the criticism of earlier carbon frames being too rigid and giving too little feedback.

As well as frame, wheels and bodywork, the BMW HP4 Race has a carbon subframe and seat unit, which can be adjusted for height. The pegs can also be adjusted as can the offset, rake and swingarm pivot point.

The suspension is the best money can buy: Ohlins FGR300 forks and TTX36 GP rear shock, and the brakes are equally exotic Brembo GP4-PR calipers.

Fortunately, the electronics package includes a datalogger, so the race-style dash can show everything from peak brake pressures to spring travel, throttle position, individual wheel speeds and bank angle. If you can afford the BMW HP4 Race, you can also probably afford a pit crew to make sense of it all.

It’s also got Shift Assistant Pro, adjustable-level traction control, wheelie control, launch control and a pitlane speed-limiter. Race-style ‘handlebar controls allow teaks to most settings on the fly.

The race-shift pattern gearbox has new ratios and comes with a selection of different front and rear sprockets to alter the gearing.

With only 750 examples being made, and the price that, while astronomical, isn’t as insane as some similarly exotic track bikes, you can expect them to sell out fast… Ops they probably already sold out...

Rating: 2.44/5 (18 votes cast)

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