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Formula BMW Europe to launch in 2008
Munich/Bracknell - BMW is taking its junior talent promotion scheme to a new level. As from season 2008, the Formula BMW Germany and Formula BMW UK championships will merge to create Formula BMW Europe. The new championship will mainly be staged on the undercard of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

"I am delighted to see Formula BMW substantially staking out its presence within the framework of the FIA Formula One World Championship and establishing itself as a strong and permanent feature of numerous Formula One race weekends. For talented young drivers, Formula BMW represents the first step towards a professional motor sport career that can take them via GP2 all the way up to Formula One. A current tally of six team and test drivers in the 2007 Formula One season bears impressive testimony of that", says Bernie Ecclestone.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen welcomes the upgrading of the series: "For us Formula BMW Europe marks the next step in the internationally oriented Formula BMW concept. Following the example of the Formula 3 Euro Series, two strong championships will join forces to create an even stronger series. It means we can offer drivers and teams a platform which, in this format, is a first for any junior race series and which will allow them to profit from our Formula One involvement. Starting with the 2008 season, our three Formula BMW championships in Asia, North America and will see us represented internationally in all the key motor sport markets. Formula BMW Europe will enable young drivers to get to know the major GP2 and Formula One circuits at the earliest possible stage, along with the Formula One environment that will be important to them later."

Formula BMW Europe will underpin and further develop the already strong presence of its sister series at the Grand Prix events in Asia and North America: It will comprise a maximum of eight race weekends, with most of the events anticipated to be held during European Grands Prix. There are also plans to stage a maximum of two race weekends within the framework of other high-profile motor sport series.

A race weekend will consist of a free practice session (Friday), qualifying (Saturday) and two races, one to take place on Saturday and the other on Sunday. Each race lasts around 25 minutes. In line with the existing Formula BMW series, the familiar junior talent sponsorship concept will be maintained in Formula BMW Europe.

"Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a racing car," explains Theissen, "In the Education and Coaching Programme we have drawn up specially for these drivers, they are taught everything they need to know to assert themselves in the wider world of motor racing. Formula BMW has evolved from a standing start to become the leading entry-level class of Formula racing worldwide. We provide the young drivers with the requisite tools that will enable them to work their way through to the higher Formula classes."

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