AMER: Series Utah rounds 5, 6, 7 preview

Formula BMW Americas Set For Tripleheader Weekend in Utah The drivers and teams of the Formula BMW Americas series face their busiest weekend of the year to date as they head to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah for a three-race weekend...

Formula BMW Americas Set For Tripleheader Weekend in Utah

The drivers and teams of the Formula BMW Americas series face their busiest weekend of the year to date as they head to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah for a three-race weekend that will go a long way toward deciding the 2009 champion.

The weekend's fifth, sixth and seventh rounds will all take place on the 2.242-mile East Course at MMP, with races running Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event will be preceded by two days of Formula BMW Americas testing, as the series races on the Utah circuit for the first time since the 2007 season. The series did test at Miller Motorsports Park last season, but current Formula BMW Junior Gianmarco Raimondo was the only driver in the 2009 field that participated in those sessions.

"Miller is interesting, in that it is a relatively physical and high G track," Raimondo (Autotecnica) remembered. "It also has a good flow of corners and chicanes that combine with quick straights. I enjoyed testing there last year and it will be even more fun and exciting racing there being familiar with the car. "

Success over the tripleheader weekend will be vital to any driver hoping to gain ground on series points leader Gabby Chaves (Eurointernational). The 15-year-old Florida resident is the only driver to score podium finishes in each of the year's four races, and currently holds a 15-point lead over teammate Giancarlo Vilarinho despite Vilarinho's back-to-back wins three weeks ago in Virginia.

"After two second places in VIR all I can think of now is getting back to the top step of the podium," Chaves said. "I will work hard in the test days to get myself up to speed right away on a track I have never been at, the team will work hard to get the car where it needs to be to win, and that should be enough to get back to first!"

Eurointernational has paced the early going in 2009, scoring both the pole and the victory in each of the season's first four events. But a number of the other teams have positioned themselves to make a move on the top spot, including Team Apex who scored a front-row starting spot for Round Four and Autotecnica, which has three podiums and leads the Rookie standings with Formula BMW Junior Alex Ellis.

"I'm really excited for the Miller event," Ellis said. "We've had two up and down weekends so far this year and I'm ready to put down a solid weekend and go for some wins. It's nice knowing that we have three races, so I know that I can make a really big jump in points if we can put everything together, which I know we can do."

The three-race weekend will also allow the young drivers a chance to run with their bigger brethren, as the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3s competing in the American Le Mans Series will be part of the bill as well. The members of the series' Education and Coaching (E&C) program will have a chance to interact with the ALMS M3 drivers during meet-and-greet session where they can learn from the pros.

This weekend's races will not be the only time that the series spends at Miller Motorsports Park this year. On July 8-10 and August 17-19, Formula BMW Americas will host licensing courses at MMP, which qualifies entrants to apply for an official FIA International C License.

-credit: bmw

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Giancarlo Vilarinho , Gianmarco Raimondo , Gabby Chaves