BMW Motorsport Party and Sports Trophy 2008.

Munich, 29th November 2008. The BMW Motorsport squad of Formula One drivers (Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld and Christian Klien), FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) works drivers and the junior racers from Formula BMW were joined by over 500 guests at the Postpalast venue in central Munich on Saturday evening for the end-of-year party and Sports Trophy presentation.

As BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explained: This event gives us the opportunity to thank our partners, drivers and associates for their commitment during the 2008 season. However, for some of us the season is not yet over; the Formula BMW World Final will take place in Mexico City this coming weekend. Plus, the BMW Sauber F1 Team will have little in the way of a winter break - further testing in Jerez is scheduled for December and preparations for 2009 are already in full swing at the factories."

Looking back at 2008, Theissen reflected: We're proud that we achieved our goals once again in the third year of our Formula One team. We were aiming to record our maiden victory, and we did so with a 1-2. Plus, we collected our first pole position and two fastest race laps. In the WTCC we took six victories, but had to concede the title to our rivals for the first time. And Formula BMW Europe enjoyed a good debut season with its races on the Formula One support programme. However, this evening is traditionally an occasion for honouring those drivers and teams who have competed internationally at a high level of motor racing without works support and have served as crucial ambassadors for the performance capability of our products."

Record entry list for BMW Sports Trophy; Franz Engstler tops the rankings.

With 141 independent drivers signing up, the entry list for the BMW Sports Trophy was longer in 2008 that at any time in its 40-year history. The previous year, 98 amateur racing drivers applied - also a record at the time. In 2008 the privateers picked up points in more than 20 race series around the world at the wheel of various BMW models. The candidates for the ^a 250,000 prize fund came from almost 20 different countries.

At the end of the day, it was Franz Engstler (47) who fended off the international field to claim the spoils. The former DTM driver from the Allgau region of Germany had already won the Sports Trophy in 2005, and amassed his points this year in the WTCC, Asian Touring Car Series, ADAC Procar Series, and in the Nurburgring and Dubai 24-hour races. Engstler lined up in a BMW 320si, BMW 320i and BMW Z4 M Coupe in the various competitions and picked up a cheque for ^a 30,000 in Munich.

The runner's-up prize (^a 25,000) went to the Swedish Touring Car Championship winner Richard Goransson. The Swede won the Sports Trophy back in 2004 and finished third last year. Mat Jackson (GB) claimed third place (^a 21,000) this time around, as well as finishing second in the British Touring Car Championship.

-credit: bmw