PAC: Series Macau preview

Formula BMW Pacific set for Macau Grand Prix debut. Macau, China -- For the first time in history, Formula BMW Pacific will race on the legendary Guia street circuit as part of the Macau Grand Prix next month. With the 2008 driver championship...

Formula BMW Pacific set for Macau Grand Prix debut.

Macau, China -- For the first time in history, Formula BMW Pacific will race on the legendary Guia street circuit as part of the Macau Grand Prix next month. With the 2008 driver championship and the Rookie Cup both decided in Shanghai, the slate has been wiped clean and the focus will be purely on seeing which of these young drivers can conquer one of the most famous street circuits in the world.

The Formula BMW Pacific drivers will have a valuable opportunity to race on the unforgiving track in front of the world's leading Formula 3 teams in the final round of the 2008 season. A chance to race at Macau prior to one day contesting the invitational FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup there could give the talented youngsters an advantage which might prove pivotal to their motorsport careers.

BMW Motorsport has long-standing ties with the Macau Grand Prix. Three current Formula 1 drivers and Formula BMW graduates, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil, all tried to conquer the Guia Circuit on their way to international stardom. In addition, no fewer than seven Formula BMW graduates are racing in this year's Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix.

Prior to Round 14 and 15 in Shanghai, the Formula BMW Juniors and drivers in the Education and Coaching Programme were given the chance to meet BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers Nick Heidfeld and Christian Klien. Naturally, the youngsters were keen to ask Heidfeld, who raced at Macau in 1995, for some advice.

"I think you will enjoy it," said Heidfeld, who won the first leg of the 1995 race. "For me, it's the best circuit in the world. It's crucial to get a lot of time on the track, and not necessarily to be on top of the leaderboard during practice. Get lots of time on the circuit."

Newly-crowned Formula BMW Pacific champion Ross Jamison (18/HKG/Meritus) and Formula BMW Junior and Rookie Cup winner Simon Moss (17/RSA/Mahara) will be two of the drivers taking that advice to heart.

Having locked up the championship in Shanghai, Jamison says he is looking forward to going to Macau and focusing solely on the race instead of having to worry about winning the title.

"It's pretty much a home race for me," said Jamison, who has watched the Macau race several times. "It's a very difficult race and a challenge that should be really exciting and lots of fun. Learning the circuit with Formula BMW Pacific is brilliant preparation for the next career move. I think it will be a really good experience."

The Macau Grand Prix race programme also includes the final round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (FIA WTCC). For the last three years, the championship has been won at Macau by BMW driver Andy Priaulx, and this year there are also three national BMW teams competing in addition to BMW Motorsport works drivers Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller, winner of the Macau F3 Grand Prix in 1993. The Formula BMW Juniors will also have the chance to meet these drivers in Macau, and Muller in particular will no doubt have some valuable words of advice.

With the addition of several guest drivers for the season-closer, it is a bumper entry for the series and one which may prove to be its most competitive yet. Drivers from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and India will all look to find whatever advantage they can in order to perform well in Macau.

Said Rookie Aditya Patel (20/IND/Eurasia Motorsport): "I watch almost every year and I followed one of my mentors, Narain Karthikeyan, very closely when he raced at Macau. I'm going to ask him for some advice as it's the end of the year and all of us want to do well in the last race."

Others, like guest driver Ollie Millroy (18/GBR/Motaworld), who scored his first Formula BMW victory in Shanghai earlier this month, has been getting some Guia Circuit practice in early: "I've tried to learn the circuit on a simulator and I think that will help," he said. "I'm looking forward to the race. I like street circuits and this year I've race at Singapore, Valencia and Montreal, all with Formula BMW. I think qualifying is going to be quite important (at Macau) because overtaking is not going to be easy."

No matter what preparations the drivers make or the advice they receive, all will arrive in Macau to a level playing field. Like those competing in the famous race it supports, the Formula BMW Pacific drivers will each have the chance to make a name for themselves at Macau.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Andy Priaulx , Narain Karthikeyan , Jorg Muller , Nico Rosberg , Augusto Farfus , Christian Klien , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Ross Jamison , Ollie Millroy , Aditya Patel , Simon Moss
Teams Sauber