Formula BMW Notebook
While most of the international racing series are now in their off-season, Formula BMW is far from being over. In the Formula BMW Pacific season finale, held on Macau’s demanding street circuit, a guest racer outclassed the regulars. Now, in the Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City, the young guns are to enter virgin soil once again.
Marinescu triumphs at Macau’s “Guia Circuit”
At the end of a thrilling 2008 season, the Formula BMW Pacific competitors experienced another true highlight: the 16th and final round of the season was held on Macau’s (MO) 6.117-kilometre “Guia Circuit”. As part of the support program of the World Touring Car Championship season finale and the legendary Formula 3 Grand Prix, no less than 21 drivers battled it out for the win in the final race of the season.
In a thrilling battle, guest entrant Mihai Marinescu (RO) took the win from his Motaworld team-mate Michael Christensen (DK), who had won the Formula BMW Europe Rookie Cup and now put the icing on the cake by securing another podium, while Gabriel Chaves (CO) proved to be the best-placed Formula BMW Pacific regular by finishing fourth. Meanwhile, Meritus driver Alexander Sims (GB) had to cope with a dose of bad luck. He qualified third, but in the race he was involved in a collision and dropped to the back of the field. Nonetheless, he demonstrated his extraordinary pace and fighting spirit by setting the fastest race lap and battling his way back up to finish eighth.
The fight for the title had been decided prior to the season finale – with Sims’ team-mate Ross Jamison (HK) winning the championship. At Macau, however, the 18-year-old had to settle for eighth place, and Rookie Cup winner Simon Moss (ZA) was forced into early retirement.
Countdown to the Formula BMW World Final in Mexico is on.
With the Formula BMW Pacific season finale in Macau contested, the young drivers now focus on the highlight of the year. In the fourth Formula BMW World Final, held from 5th to 7th December at Mexico City’s “Aut¢dromo Hermanos Rodríguez” (MX), the winner will be granted a unique reward, he will get the chance of testing with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.
To date, eight teams comprising a total of 20 drivers have been confirmed for the event, with all three series being represented on the grid. Two of these drivers are local hero Esteban Gutiérrez (MX), and Alexander Rossi (US), who can both look back on a successful season: Gutiérrez secured the title in Formula BMW Europe, which held seven of its eight race weekends as part of the support program for Formula One races. Rossi also celebrated three of his ten impressive race wins in front of Formula One crowds: in Montréal (CA) and at São Paulo (BR). The two new champions also contested the 2007 Formula BMW World Final and are determined to make it to the very top this year.
The final event of the BMW Motorsport year is not only very popular with the experienced Formula BMW drivers. Numerous rookies that have completed their maiden single-seater season in 2008 also want to shine in the Formula BMW World Final in order to make their dream come true: a test at the wheel of a Formula One car. Formula BMW Europe Rookie Cup winner Michael Christensen will race in Mexico as will Gianmarco Raimondo (CA), who secured the Rookie Cup of the Formula BMW Americas. Simon Moss, who won the Formula BMW Pacific Rookie Cup, also travels to Mexico to take the next step on the motor racing ladder.
The following drivers and teams have confirmed their entry for the Formula BMW World Final:
No. 2 - Mikael Grenier (CA) - Rookie - Apex-HBR Racing Team
No. 5 - Gianmarco Raimondo (CA) - Rookie - Autotecnica
No. 7 - Velibor Jovanovic (RS) - Dams Team
No. 8 - Jim Pla (FR) - Dams Team
No. 9 - Thomas Hillsdon (GB) - Rookie - Eifelland Racing
No. 10 - Jazeman Jaafar (MY) - Eifelland Racing
No. 11 - David Mengesdorf (DE) - Eifelland Racing
No. 12 - William Buller (GB) - Eurointernational
No. 14 - Daniel Juncadella (ES) - Eurointernational
No. 15 - David Ostella (CA) - Rookie - Eurointernational
No. 16 - Alexander Rossi (US) - Eurointernational
No. 17 - Doru Sechelariu (RO) - Eurointernational
No. 18 - Giancarlo Vilarinho (BR) - Rookie - Eurointernational
No. 19 - Gabriel Chaves (CO) - Euro Junior Team
No. 20 - Alfonso Toledano (MX) - Euro Junior Team
No. 21 - Michael Christensen (DK) - Rookie - Josef Kaufmann Racing
No. 22 - Esteban Gutiérrez (MX) - Josef Kaufmann Racing
No. 23 - Facundo Regalia (ES) - Rookie - Josef Kaufmann Racing
No. 24 - Ollie Millroy (GB) - Rookie - Motaworld Racing
No. 25 - Simon Moss (ZA) - Rookie - Motaworld Racing
Provisional 2009 race calendars published.
Preparations for the forthcoming Formula BMW season are running flat-out. The provisional race calendars for the three international young-gun series have been announced, and according to these calendars, Formula BMW will hold ten of its race weekends as part of the support program of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Formula BMW Europe:
The 2009 Formula BMW Europe will again comprise eight events, with seven of them being held as part of Formula One events. The date and venue of the eighth race weekend will be announced later.
8th to 10th May, Barcelona (ES), F1
19th to 21st June, Silverstone (GB), F1
10th to 12th July, Nürburgring (DE), F1
24th to 26th July, Budapest (HU), F1
21st to 23rd August, Valencia (ES), F1
28th to 30th August, Spa-Francorchamps (BE), F1
11th to 13th September, Monza (IT), F1
Formula BMW Pacific:
5th April, Kuala Lumpur (MY), F1
24th May, Kuala Lumpur (MY), AFOS (Asian Festival of Speed)
19th July, Sentul (ID), AFOS
27th September, Singapore (SG), F1
1st November, Okayama (JP), WTCC
22nd November, Macau (MO), tbc, Macau GP
Formula BMW Americas:
15th to 17th May, Miller Motorsports Park (US), ALMS
17th/18th July, Lime Rock Park (US), ALMS
14th to 16th August, Road America (US), ALMS
28th to 30th August, Mosport (CA), ALMS
16th to 18th October, Sao Paulo (BR), F1
The details of two other events will be announced later.