BMW Safety Car Crashes at Daytona Four Hours Before Start of 24-Hour Race

a group of cars parked on the side of a road
BMW Safety Car Crashes Four Hours Before Daytona michaellgoodwin/Twitter (used with permission)

Four hours before the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, a crash had already marred the track. It wasn’t a warm-up lap or any kind of high-speed chase; it was the BMW M3 safety car.

The front end of the BMW was mangled and mashed, a tangle of metal from the windshield forward, the distinctive two-part grille completely obliterated. It appears to have hit the wall, leaving debris littered on the track. On X (formerly Twitter), some are calling it the not-so-safety car.

Road & Track contributor Marshall Pruett reported on X that the M3 was being used to lead the historic race car field and that it was full of passengers when the crash took place.

It's unclear if anyone was injured in the crash. IMSA did not immediately respond to R&T's request for additional information.

“It’s hard enough for a driver to stay fresh and keep a race car in one piece through a two- or three-hour sprint race,” John Oreovicz wrote for IMSA’s news site earlier this week. “Imagine keeping all those factors operating smoothly while racing twice around the clock.”

Now imagine getting in a crash in the safety car, before the race even starts.

Real action from the competitors started at 1:30 p.m. EST with entries from Acura, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lamborghini, Lexus, McLaren, Mazda, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche.

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