EU: Series Valencia SC preview

Double premiere for Formula BMW Europe. Munich. A weekend of challenges awaits the 28 young drivers of Formula BMW Europe. Rounds 11 and 12 will be held against the backdrop of the Formula One GP on the newly created street circuit in...

Double premiere for Formula BMW Europe.

Munich. A weekend of challenges awaits the 28 young drivers of Formula BMW Europe. Rounds 11 and 12 will be held against the backdrop of the Formula One GP on the newly created street circuit in the Spanish city of Valencia. For the drivers, a twofold premiere beckons: on the one hand the weekend marks the first street race on the European continent in the history of Formula BMW, and on the other hand none of the drivers has had a chance to glean any driving experience there. All the junior drivers will therefore be entering uncharted territory: "I have prepared for the race by watching videos of the Spanish Formula 3 race that was held there four weeks ago. I've also been on location and had a look at the circuit. The crucial thing is whether you can quickly master the details," says Spaniard Daniel Juncadella (Eurointernational), who is currently in second place in the overall rankings.

The drivers - some of them just 15 years old - are setting great store by walking the circuit on Thursday morning. "In situations like that I memorise significant points and then use them as landmarks. That would be things like turning in when you see the disco advert, or braking at the big lamppost," explains 16-year-old Spaniard Facundo Regalia. At the weekend it's going to be a close-fought contest not just in the race but in the overall rankings too. Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing) heads the points table with 250 ahead of Juncadella (200 points), Adrien Tambay (FR/Eifelland Racing,198) and Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing, 194). With 30 points being awarded for each win, it's a very close contest.

In terms of safety, Formula BMW Europe is well equipped for the street circuit as well. The FORS safety seat specially developed by BMW allows the driver to be removed from the vehicle along with the seat in the event of an accident. This provides particular protection for the back in case of injury. Formula BMW, moreover, was the first entry-level series to make the HANS head and neck protection system mandatory for its drivers. Race director David Cartwright in Valencia sees to it that the safety regulations are strictly adhered to in the Formula BMW Europe races: "The close confines of the Valencia street circuit will represent a new challenge for the drivers. I believe it is important to ensure that at this stage of the drivers' careers basics such as obeying the yellow flags and general on-track behaviour are firmly instilled for the future."

Formula BMW may be broaching new territory in this street race, but it could almost be regarded as a home event. The series has had a very special association with Valencia for some time, with the licensing courses and scholarship qualifying being held at the Formula BMW Racing Center at the permanent race track for several years now. It was here that such talents as Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg were "discovered". In the last two years, this Mediterranean city has also played host to the Formula BMW World Final. Several Formula BMW graduates, moreover, had their first experience of a BMW Formula One vehicle here: Ho-Pin Tung (CHN) in 2003, Marco Holzer in 2006 and Christian Vietoris in 2007.

-credit: fbmw eu

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