AP: Beijing rounds 7, 8 preview

Formula BMW Asia key to China motorsport development says Wang. Beijing, China - As he prepares to race a single seater for the first time ever in China, BMW Junior Wang Jian Wei (Ao's Racing Team) firmly believes Formula BMW Asia is key to the...

Formula BMW Asia key to China motorsport development says Wang.

Beijing, China - As he prepares to race a single seater for the first time ever in China, BMW Junior Wang Jian Wei (Ao's Racing Team) firmly believes Formula BMW Asia is key to the development of motorsport in the world's most populous country.

"BMW is the first ever manufacturer to offer comprehensive and systematic motorsport training to drivers from China. Single seater racing is becoming more and more popular here, and there are an increasing number of drivers who can afford to race. However, previously there were not many opportunities. Formula BMW Asia is a professionally-run series which provides an excellent opportunity for young Chinese drivers to explore a single seater racing career," says the 20-year-old from Hubei Province.

Wang began his love affair with all things automotive at the age of eight. His father, an avid motorsport fan, taught him to drive - in private - at the age of 11. However, like many youngsters the world over, the importance of study took priority over any racing aspirations, although Wang kept a close eye on the sport. "In those days, it was not common for Chinese television stations to broadcast motorsport, so I kept abreast of what was happening through newspapers and magazines," he says.

In 2001, Wang travelled to Australia to continue his education, but after just one year he returned to China to follow his dream of becoming a racing driver.

Upon his return, Wang enrolled in a rally training course organised by the country's ASN, the Federation of Automobile Sports of China (FASC). Following the course, he took part in four rounds of the China Rally Championship, finishing 6th overall in the National 1600cc class.

The following year, and after taking part in a touring car training course also organised by the FASC, Wang was given his first taste of "tin top" racing. He competed with Ao's Weihao Racing Team, run by Macau driver Ao Chi Hong, in the National Touring Car Championship and, in 2004, the China Circuit Championship.

When Ao made the decision to enter a team in Formula BMW Asia for the 2005 season, Wang was first in line for the scholarship trials in Bahrain, and is now mid-way through his first season as a BMW Junior. Says Wang, "At the moment, I'm planning to do two seasons in Formula BMW Asia. Then, if I get some good results, the next step would be racing Formula 3 in Europe."

Rounds 7 and 8 of Formula BMW Asia will be held at Beijing's Goldenport Circuit on July 16 and 17.

Background:

Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and- coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.

This racing car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. The single-seater is propelled by a 140 bhp BMW engine up to 230km/h and exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. The HANS safety system is also mandatory.

In 2005, Formula BMW will be staged five times as part of the Formula One support programme. All the series offer a multifaceted Education and Coaching Programme as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents. The best-known alumni of this talent hothouse are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.

BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen: "Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a car. In the Education and Coaching Programme we have designed specially for them, they learn everything they need to know to hold their own in the big wide world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."

In December 2005 the Bahrain International Circuit will host the first Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other. The winner will get a Formula One test drive.

Formula BMW Asia Points Standings after Round 6:
1.Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E-Rain) 88 points, 2. Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus) 65 points, 3. Hamed Al Fardan (BAH/Team Meritus) 61, 4. Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E-Rain) 60 points, 5. Robert Boughey (THA/Team Meritus) 52 points, 6. Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus) 49 points, 7. An Suk-Won (KOR/Team E-Rain) 32 points, 8. Aaron Lim (MAS/Minardi Team Asia) 32 points, 9. Wang Jian-Wei (CHN/Ao's Racing Team) 13 points, 10. Mitsunobu Endo (JPN/Team Meritus) 13 points, 11. Dejan de Zoysa (SRI/Minardi Team Asia) 11 points, 12. Jonathan Chan (HKG/Minardi Team Asia) 10 points.

Rookie Cup Standings after Round 6:
1. Charlie-Ro Charlez 94 points, 2. Armaan Ebrahim 82 points, 3. Michael Patrizi 73 points, 4. An Suk Won 58 points, 5. Aaron Lim 49 points, 6. Wang Jian-Wei 40 points, 7. Dejan de Zoysa 26 points.

-bmw.asia-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Christian Klien , Armaan Ebrahim , Mario Theissen , Michael Patrizi , Aaron Lim , Jian Wei Wang