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Formula BMW
Formula BMW notebook
  • Rossi wins Formula BMW Americas.
  • Guest driver Sechelariu shines in Singapore.
  • Formula BMW Europe prepares for 2009 season.
  • 32 participants at Formula BMW scholarship courses.
  • Formula BMW careers: Chris van der Drift. 

Rossi wins Formula BMW Americas.

Image Alexander Rossi (US) is the first overall winner of Formula BMW Americas. Two victories in rounds 11 and 12 on 28th and 29th September at the Thunderbolt Raceway in Milville (US) were enough to give the youngster the title in the American junior series. Rossi now travels to the season finale in Sao Paulo (BR) as champion.

The young American has started from pole position eight times this season, and took the checkered flag as race winner on eight occasions. This takes his total to 11 victories and 10 pole positions during his Formula BMW career, making him the most successful driver in the current Formula BMW Americas field. Rossi's team Eurointernational secured their third title in a row. "I can hardly find the words to describe how I feel," said Rossi after round 12. "I am delighted, relieved, and grateful. We also had some difficult moments this year, but I had an excellent team behind me."

While the overall championship is already decided, a real scrap is taking place to become the number one rookie. Just 12 points separate Gianmarco Raimondo (CA, 166 points), Mikael Grenier (CA, 111), Alexandre Ruiz (BR, 110) and Giancarlo Vilarinho (BR, 104). Any of this group of four could still claim the title as they head to the final race weekend of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas season, which forms part of the program for the Brazilian Grand Prix from 31st October to 1st November.

Guest driver Sechelariu shines in Singapore.

Image The trip to Singapore was more than worth it for Doru Sechelariu. The Romanian, who had just finished his season in Formula BMW Europe, was a guest starter in races 12 and 13 of Formula BMW Pacific at the eagerly awaited premiere of the "Marina Bay Circuit". The 18-year-old started both races from pole position, and went on to claim two victories.

As a guest driver, however, he was not awarded any points for the championship classification. They went to Ross Jamison (HK), who finished second in both races, picking up a maximum 40 points to extend his lead over Sean McDonagh (US) in Formula BMW Pacific to 56 points. However, there is still everything to play for in the championship. 63 points are still up for grabs in the three remaining races in Shanghai (CN) and Macau (MO).

The rookie classification, in particular, promises some excitement at the season finale. Simon Moss (ZA, 92) has a lead of just 12 points over Chris Wootton (AU). However, with 67 points, Marlon Stockinger (PH) is also still in with a chance of being crowned best newcomer of the year.

Formula BMW Europe prepares for 2009 season.

Just weeks after its maiden season drew to an end, Formula BMW is looking ahead to next year. Esteban Gutierrez (MX) went down in history as the first champion in the junior series. Denmark's Michael Christensen won the "Rookie of the Year" title.

Many drivers are now preparing to appear at the highlight of the season, the Formula BMW World Final, which takes place from 5th to 7th October in Mexico City (MX).

There was no lack of highlights during the 2008 Formula BMW Europe season. Seven race weekends were incorporated into Formula One Grands Prix programs. In 2009 the calendar for the junior series will once again be oriented toward the Formula One schedule, thus giving the talented youngsters another opportunity to perform on a major stage.

32 participants at Formula BMW scholarship courses.

Next season's most promising talents from Formula BMW Americas and Formula BMW Europe were on parade at the Formula BMW Racing Center in Valencia (ES) from 28th September to 2nd October. The most successful participants from the license courses were invited to the Formula BMW scholarship courses at the Spanish circuit. 11 drivers from the American junior series applied for the BMW Junior sponsorship, while 21 drivers headed out onto the track for Formula BMW Europe.

The scholarship course program has developed significantly. The close cooperation with the German Sport University in Cologne, particularly regarding the psychological tests, now allow for a more detailed analysis of the license course results. One of the youngsters' instructors was four-time winner of the touring car race in Macau (MO), Duncan Huisman (NL). After the junior drivers had demonstrated their ability on and off the track, Huisman and Co. were faced with the difficult task of selecting the sponsorship candidates for the 2009 season.

Formula BMW careers: Chris van der Drift.

Chris van der Drift (NZ) was catching the eye as early as his time in Formula BMW. Not only is he unusually tall for a racing driver (1.84 meters), he also boasts a fitting name and had a cuddly mascot, the “Kiwi”. The national bird of New Zealand accompanied van der Drift from race to race. He also made a name for himself as an excellent driver. At the end of his first Formula BMW season he claimed the title of "Rookie of the Year" in the Formula BMW ADAC Championship.  One year later he finished fourth overall and could look back on no less than 13 podium finishes by the end of his Formula BMW career.

The New Zealander, who also possesses Dutch citizenship, finished runner-up in the Formula Renault Euro Series in 2006, before stepping up to the International Formula Masters in 2007. There too van der Drift immediately came to terms with the new challenge. After finishing second in his rookie season, the former Formula BMW driver was unstoppable in 2008. An impressive record of six victories, ten podium finishes and six pole positions helped van der Drift to his first title.

The International Formula Masters, which formed part of the World Touring Car Championship program in 2008, proved to be a real romping ground last season for former Formula BMW drivers. Van der Drift was joined on the grid by Josef Kral (CZ – runner-up in the 2007 Formula BMW UK Championship) and Earl Bamber (NZ – overall winner of 2007 Formula BMW Asia), to name but two. Van der Drift now has numerous options for a successful future in motor racing. Next up are test drives in the GP2 series and for Honda’s F1 team.

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