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Thermal imagery of BMW M4 DTM pit stop is red hot

Wed, 28 May 2014

A pit stop is a pit stop, right? The race car pulls in, the crew changes the tires, pumps in some fuel, maybe swaps out a busted body panel or squeegees the windshield, and off it goes for another heat. Only pit stops have become the focus of news lately for a number of reasons, whether it's because of mishaps (like the ones that prompted F1 to ban mid-race refueling), new time records (due largely to said ban) or interesting new ways to film the fast-paced action.

A few weeks ago we brought you footage of an IndyCar pit stop filmed from multiple angles courtesy of Google Glass. Now BMW has released a brief clip of one of its M4 DTM racers coming in for fresh rubber, all filmed by infrared camera. Its the kind of technology BMW uses to help optimize its German touring cars for competition, and now the Bavarian outfit has released some footage for fans to enjoy.

The resulting thermal imagery gives you an idea of how hot the car runs (and where the heat is emanating from), how warm they get the fresh rubber before they get it onto the car, and what kind of temperatures the pit crew is subjected to. Look closely enough in the 25-second video below and you'll even see the heat sputtering out of the exhaust pipes as the M4 downshifts into its pit box. (Just don't try adjusting your speakers, the clip is without audio.)

BMW Motorsport releases first images from an infrared camera – Completely new views of the BMW M4 DTM.

Munich (DE), 23rd May 2014. Temperatures play a major role in motorsport. Whether track, tyre, brake or engine temperatures, a multitude of factors must all be taken into consideration in order to achieve maximum performance from a racing car. This obviously also applies to the BMW engineers when preparing the new BMW M4 DTM for a race. Therefore, it is hugely important for them to know which areas of the car are reaching what temperatures.

Images from an infrared camera are ideally suited to making these areas visible. BMW Motorsport is now releasing these thermal images of the BMW M4 DTM for the first time. Images and videos of the car in the garage, during a pit stop and at the start clearly show which areas are subjected to the highest temperatures. The carbon brakes, for example, can heat up to 800 degrees Celsius. Thermal blankets mean the tyres can be fitted at temperatures between 80 and 100 degrees Celsius during a pit stop. The BMW DTM drivers must endure up to 60 degrees Celsius in the cockpit.

"I can confirm from personal experience that the temperatures in the cockpit of the BMW M4 DTM can sometimes be very high, which demands enormous fitness from us drivers," said BMW Team MTEK driver Timo Glock (DE). "I find it fascinating how well the thermal images illustrate the heat generation in our cars. Unfortunately the fans at the racetrack do not get to see what goes on under the surface of the BMW M4 DTM. Therefore, I am sure that they will really like these images and videos."

The thermal images can be seen as part of an extensive web special on the BMW M4 DTM at Here, the new DTM car is presented in detail under the headings Engine, Cockpit, Temperature Check, Aerodynamics, Lightweight Design, and Design.

You can watch a video showing thermal images of the BMW M4 DTM during a pit stop here:

By Noah Joseph

See also: 2014 BMW X5 recalled over faulty child-safety locks, 2015 BMW X4, BMW Concept Roadster has two fewer wheels than we were expecting.