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Gauteng backing moves from Renault to BMW UPDATE (GMM)  The commercial backing of the South African province Gauteng has moved from Renault to BMW-Sauber ahead of the 2009 season.

It was announced on Tuesday that the GO-GP.ORG logo will feature on the front wing endplates and nose of the 2009 car, as well as the drivers' helmets and overalls, at the start of what team boss Mario Theissen described as a "long-term" deal.

"We will be working closely with BMW and our other motor sport partners to restore the prominence of South Africa in formula one and our local motor sport industry," Gauteng's Mandla Nkomfe said.

The logos were not visible when BMW-Sauber concluded its 2009 pre-season test program with the F1.09 at Barcelona last week.

03/17/09 The BMW Sauber F1 Team will go into the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship with another new Official Partner. The GO-GP.ORG logo will travel with the team around the world as an invitation to the Gauteng Province in South Africa.  

Gauteng Province is an economic hub of South Africa, contributing to 35% of the country's GDP and 10% of the African continent's GDP. The province offers a divers range of opportunities from, tourism, commerce, investment, an established Automotive Manufacturing industry and a new motorsports lifestyle and development initiative. It is gearing itself toward becoming a "knowledge economy" concentrating on growing the sectors of Integrated Computer Technology (ICT), Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Bio-Technology. 

Gauteng has a history of hosting the South African Formula One Grand Prix and other premium international sport events. The domain name GO-GP.ORG acts as portal for grand prix fans, tourists and investors to access the province's exciting offerings and at the same time become part of a new international Grand Prix Membership Club. 

"I am delighted to welcome another long-term partner on board," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, and added: "In addition to its business links with South Africa through the plant in Rosslyn, Gauteng, BMW also has an emotional connection with the country thanks to motorsport. It was at the South African Grand Prix in 1983 that Nelson Piquet wrapped up the Drivers' World Championship in a Brabham BMW." 

The Rosslyn plant near Pretoria was the first location opened outside Germany by what is now the BMW Group. A workforce of around 2,300 produces up to 250 units of the BMW 3 Series here every day. A quarter of these cars are earmarked for the South African market, while the remainder are built for export. 

The Gauteng Motorsport Company manages the Gauteng Provincial Government's promotion through international motorsport that extends beyond the new partnership with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The company will organize and promote the 6th round of the World Superbike Championship (BMW Motorrad has entered in 2009) at Kyalami in May. 

GO-GP.ORG lettering will be visible on the front wing endplates and nose section of the F1.09, as well as on the drivers' helmets and overalls, team clothing, pit equipment and team trucks. In addition to the F1 project, the partnership extends to two other competitions in the BMW Motorsport portfolio. GO-GP.ORG will also be displayed on the BMW 320si WTCC racer in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, as well as on the pit equipment, trucks and BMW works drivers.'

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