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Formula BMW USA announces Champ Car deal
 
March 8, 2004

BMW of North America, LLC announced today that it has reached an agreement with Open Wheel Racing Series, owners of the Champ Car World Series, to sanction the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship.

“We believe that Formula BMW USA is an important way for the next generation of Champ Car superstars to begin their open-wheel racing careers,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “The fact that these drivers and teams will be competing at some of our races gives them a great opportunity to showcase their talents to those team owners at the next level. Sometimes all it takes is for a driver to impress the right person and Formula BMW USA will give them that chance.”

With this agreement, Formula BMW USA’s 14-race, seven-weekend championship becomes the premier North American open-wheel foundation series with races at the most visible venues including the Canadian Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and four Champ Car events.

The season will open only 90 miles from BMW of North America’s headquarters at Lime Rock Park, CT on May 31st. Formula BMW USA will then support the only two Formula One races in North America at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 13th and the United States Grand Prix on June 20th. The final four races of the year will be in support of the Champ Car World Series at Cleveland on July 3rd, Road America on August 8th and Denver on August 15th . The series finale will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 12th .

Each Formula BMW USA race weekend will include two rounds of the Championship. Separate qualifying sessions will determine the grid for each 30-minute standing-start contest.

“Formula BMW USA offers the most unique and visible championship to a driver taking their first steps into the world of professional motorsport,” said Alex Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Motorsport Manager. “Formula BMW USA is a comprehensive series that allows our drivers to showcase their talent in front of both Formula One and Champ Car audiences. Our series is also proud to offer an innovative education and mentoring program.”

In addition, BMW will extend $15,000 toward spare parts for each race car. “We understand that the economics of racing can be difficult, so we are looking to support race teams and drivers with this incentive.” added Alex Schmuck.

2004 is the inaugural season of the Formula BMW USA Championship. Talented drivers from North, Central and South America will line up in state-of-the-art Formula BMW FB2s to begin the next step in their racing careers. A step to what could eventually be a seat at the pinnacle of motorsport – the Formula One World Championship.

Already established in Germany and Asia and recently announced in the UK, Formula BMW has become a very successful proving ground for the aspiring open-wheel driver.

Exceptional Prize Package
The Formula BMW USA series offers a scholarship and prize packages totaling over $500,000. Six talented, young drivers were awarded $240,000 in scholarships, $40,000 per driver, last month. Additionally, total available prize monies top $260,000 for the Championship.

Series championship prize monies total $81,000 with $20,000 going to the inaugural Formula BMW USA champion. Runner-up prizes are; 2nd-$15,000, 3rd-$12,000, 4th-$10,000, 5th-$8,000, 6th-$6,000, 7th-$4,000, 8th-$3,000, 9th-$2,000 and 10th-$1,000.

A $50,000 scholarship will also be awarded to the 2004 Formula BMW USA Series Champion that can be applied to a year of participation in the 2005 Formula BMW Germany Championship. At each event, $5500 in per-race prize money will be awarded as follows: 1st- $1000, 2nd-$900, 3rd-$800, 4th-$700, 5th-$600, 6th-$500, 7th-$400, 8th-$300, 9th-$200 and 10th-$100.

A separate Rookie Cup for those in their first year of racing will be a “championship within a championship” and will be based on the same scoring system. Rookie Cup monies will be in addition to the regular championship winnings and total $24,000. The inaugural Formula BMW USA Rookie Cup winner will receive $8,000, 2nd-$6,000, 3rd-$4,000, 4th-$3,000, 5th-$2,000 and 6th-$1,000. In addition, $2100 in per-race Rookie Cup prize money will be awarded as follows: 1st-$600, 2nd-$500, 3rd-$400, 4th-$300, 5th-$200 and 6th-$100.

The Formula BMW FB2 Race Car
A 140-horsepower, four-cylinder BMW engine powers the Formula BMW FB2 and propels the 1001-pound car to speeds approaching 140 miles per hour. A sequential six-speed gearbox feeds the power to Michelin racing slick tires. Adjustable front and rear wings and suspension allow the FB2 a large set-up range and an F1-style steering wheel houses a comprehensive electronic display. LED lights signal optimum shift timing and the display shows a range on information including engine parameters, current gear selection and last or best lap time. A multi-channel data acquisition system stores data for team use after each session.

The Formula BMW FB2 sets new standards for safety in the category of racing. In addition to a carbon-fiber chassis meeting the FIA safety requirements of more powerful Formula 3 cars the driver sits in a BMW-developed Formula BMW Rescue Seat. In the event that it would become necessary to extricate the driver from the car the seat and driver can be removed from the car as one unit lessening the chances for additional injury. The seat and head surround have been designed to allow ample room for the wearing of a HANS device, which is mandatory in the Formula BMW USA Championship.

Education & Coaching Program
As part of the Formula BMW USA program, drivers will participate in an educational training program. This program will provide young drivers with skills that they will need long term in the world of motorsports. BMW will organize seminars throughout the season, conducted by experienced individuals to review important subjects such as, fitness training and nutrition, vehicle dynamics and chassis set-up, driving technique, public relations, media training, sponsorship research and sports management.

2004 Formula BMW USA Schedule
Licensing school Valencia, Spain March 30-31
Official Test Sebring Test Circuit April 12-13
Official Test Putnam Park April 22
Official test Mid-Ohio May 12-13
Race 1,2 Lime Rock Park May 28-31
Race 3,4 Canadian Grand Prix June 11-13
Race 5,6 United States Grand Prix June 18-20
Race 7, 8 Cleveland July 01-03
Race 9,10 Road America Aug. 06-08
Race 11,12 Denver Aug. 13-15
Race 13,14 Laguna Seca Sept. 10-12



BMW Group In America

BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. ROLLS-ROYCE Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand, the MINI brand, and the ROLLS-ROYCE brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all Z4 roadster and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 340 BMW passenger car centers, 327 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 148 BMW motorcycle retailers, 73 MINI passenger car dealers, and 25 ROLLS-ROYCE Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

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