AP: Rounds 17, 18 Shanghai preview

Asian stars to shine in Shanghai. Shanghai, China -- With six races of the 2007 season remaining, and the championship still wide open, Formula BMW Asia travels to Shanghai this weekend for two rounds supporting the 2007 Formula 1 Sinopec ...

Asian stars to shine in Shanghai.

Shanghai, China -- With six races of the 2007 season remaining, and the championship still wide open, Formula BMW Asia travels to Shanghai this weekend for two rounds supporting the 2007 Formula 1 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix, and a chance for the talented youngsters to shine in front of motorsports' most influential figures.

As well as Asia's young stars of the future doing battle for glory on the race track, Formula BMW Asia graduates will be taking part in the successful BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park.

The first ever Formula BMW Asia champion, Dutch-Chinese racer Ho Pin Tung who took the title in 2003 and was rewarded for his extraordinary performance with an F1 test, will drive the BMW Sauber F1 car, while former BMW Junior and A1 GP Team member Aaron Lim of Malaysia will be at the wheel of an FB02.

The innovative BMW Sauber F1 Pit Lane Park throws open the inner sanctum of Formula 1 to the public, and is an adventure complex which gives fans unprecedented access to the sounds, speeds and excitement of the sport. The star of the show will be the BMW Sauber F1.07, with Tung at the wheel, which will alternate on-track with Lim in the Formula BMW. The BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park will be open to the public from Friday through Sunday.

Back to the Formula BMW Asia season, and Malaysian teenager Jazeman Jaafar (CIMB Qi-Team Meritus) tops the provisional Driver Classification standings having won 12 podiums in 16 races, but Indonesia's Zahir Ali (20) with the newly-formed Team TARADTM is in hot pursuit. Currently third in the standings, Jazeman's team mate and arch on-track rival James Grunwell (18/THA) was upstaged in Round 15, held at China's new Chengdu Circuit last month, by friend and fellow Thai Jack Lemvard (21/CIMB Qi-Team Meritus), who made a stunning single seater racing debut by taking the win from Jazeman.

Fourth in the Driver Classification and leading the hotly-contested Rookie Cup is Hong Kong BMW Junior driver Ross Jamison (17/CIMB Qi-Team Meritus ), who is demonstrating the importance of consistency. Fellow BMW Juniors Kyle Mitchell (16/Eurasia Motorsport), the first South African in the series, team mate Akhil Khushlani of India (18), and Shohei Shiromoto (17/JPN/Team E-Rain) are all still very much in the title chase.

All Juniors, particularly David Zhu of China (17/ CIMB Qi-Team Meritus) who will be looking for a good showing in front of the thousands of Chinese racing fans, will be looking forward to sharing the same race track with their BMW Motorsport counterparts at the BMW F1 Sauber team for the first time.

Two new drivers joining Formula BMW Asia for the Shanghai races are 17-year-old Colombian Sebastian Saavedra, now in his second season of Formula BMW USA, and 19-year-old Nara Ryuichi of Japan.

-credit: bmw.asia

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Sebastian Saavedra , Aaron Lim , Zahir Ali , Ross Jamison , Kyle Mitchell , Shohei Shiromoto , Akhil Khushlani , James Grunwell , David Zhu , Jack Lemvard , Ryuichi Nara
Teams Sauber