Formula BMW USA changes name
In preparation for its fifth season Formula BMW USA is changing and growing to better meet the needs of young racing drivers in North, Central and South America. To recognize the scope of the championship, Formula BMW USA will add two rounds in support of the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix and be renamed Formula BMW Americas. To further strengthen the young driver development program, BMW Motorsport will also increase the Junior scholarship award to $80,000.
Formula BMW Americas reflects the growth of Formula BMW worldwide. Formula BMW Germany and Formula BMW UK announced on June 28th that the two series will reorganize to form Formula BMW Europe. Formula BMW Europe, Formula BMW Americas and Formula BMW Asia will now comprise the new face of Formula BMW.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is happy about the upgrading of the series: - "Formula BMW is becoming more and more international. What we do with Formula BMW Europe we continue with Formula BMW Americas. We pay contribution to the fact that we had growing interest from the bordering regions - in that case the South American region. In 2007, we had Formula BMW USA drivers from Brazil and Colombia. South American youngsters already comprise more than one-third of the entry in the upcoming October scholarship course. We therefore look forward to continuing to increase Formula BMW's presence there."
While the balance of the 14-race Formula BMW Americas schedule is yet to be finalized, BMW Motorsport is pleased to announce that, despite the loss of the United States Grand Prix, the season will again be anchored by races at two Formula 1 Grands Prix. Formula BMW will race for a fifth consecutive year in support of the Canadian Grand Prix, on June 6-8, and, new for 2008, Formula BMW drivers will race at the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 31 to November 2. The remainder of the 14-race schedule will take place at a combination of American Le Mans Series, Champ Car World Series and Rolex Sports Car Series weekends.
A cornerstone of Formula BMW is the unique Junior program and for 2008 BMW Motorsport will award four scholarships worth $80,000. Esteban Gutierrez, the 2007 Formula BMW USA Rookie of the year, will be offered the first Junior scholarship.
The additional three scholarships will be awarded to drivers chosen from the October 3-4 scholarship shoot-out and a second, newly-added licensing/scholarship course on December 13-14. One scholarship will be awarded to the top driver in each course with the final scholarship going to the next most promising driver from the combined events. The winners will be announced the week of December 17th. Both courses will be held at the Formula BMW Racing Center at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, in Valencia, Spain.
BMW Motorsport will be attending the Copa Brazil, in Ipatinga, Brazil, on October 13 to introduce Formula BMW to young karters. The event is the most important championship in Brazil with participants competing in 13 different categories and will be a perfect platform to promote the growing Formula BMW series in South America. BMW works driver for WTCC Team Germany, Augusto Farfus, will join the event together with representatives of BMW Motorsport and Formula BMW USA.
Also, the series will hold a promotion at the Stars of Karting Final, in Las Vegas, Nevada, which will be held from October 19-21 with more than 150 young karters participating.