BMW along with its racing drivers and a host of celebrities gathered in Kitzbühel on Saturday to celebrate the end of the 2002 season with some sport, fun and showbiz. BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers Ralf Schumacher (Germany) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia), as well as Formula One test driver Marc Gené (Spain) and BMW's two touring car works drivers Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller from Germany, larked about in the afternoon snow along with 550 invited guests. Partying in the Emporium, a specially built retro-style glass palace, went on until the small hours.
In his address that evening, BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger paid tribute to the efforts and successes of the past motorsport season. Mario Theissen, also BMW Motorsport Director, confirmed that development of the 2003 BMW Formula One engine was progressing on schedule in Munich, while WilliamsF1 team owners Frank Williams and Patrick Head expressed confidence regarding preparation work on the Formula One chassis for the forthcoming season.
On Saturday afternoon, Schumacher, Montoya & Co. turned up in Kitzbühel for some sporting competition this time also without the support of any BMW brake horsepower. The disciplines covered Wood Sawing and Milking, Archery and Tyre Changing on the Formula BMW. There was also a challenging course to cover with remote-controlled cars.
35,000 euros for the world's most successful private BMW driver.
Dutchman Duncan Huisman is the winner of the historic BMW Sports Trophy 2002. As the world's most successful BMW racing driver in the private realm, the 31-year-old was presented with a cheque for 35,000 euros at the BMW Sports Trophy award ceremony in Kitzbühel on Saturday.
Huisman collected a total of 454 points to win the Sports Trophy. In second place with 380 points was Massimo Pigoli of Italy, winner of the Italian Touring Car Championship based on Superproduction regulations. Claudia Hürtgen (Aachen) took third place with 344 points. She came third in the German Touring Car Challenge.
A total of 20 BMW private drivers were awarded prize money. The BMW Sports Trophy has been held annually for almost four decades and carries a purse of 241,000 euros. Even the tail-ender in the rankings can look forward to 5,000 euros.
Private drivers make the BMW 320i Europe's most successful touring car.
"Committed private drivers all over the world," stressed BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger in Kitzbühel, "represent important BMW ambassadors on our behalf. Thanks to them the BMW 320i has once again emerged as the most successful touring car in Europe. We extend our congratulations on the numerous successes against powerful competition in the front-wheel-drive camp."
Huisman won the Dutch Touring Car Championship with a BMW 320i for the third time this year following victories in 1997 and 2000, and even raced a BMW 320i in the European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). His best ETCC result was second place in the penultimate race at Donington.
Having collected sufficient points through these achievements to win the BMW competition for private racing drivers, Huisman went on to claim another brilliant feat in November by triumphing in the spectacular touring car event in Macau, China for the second time in succession.
Duncan is the younger brother by five years of multiple Porsche Super Cup winner Patrick Huisman. In 1998 the two brothers together won the Belcar Championship.