Series newsletter 2009-08-27

Chaves celebrates Formula BMW Americas title. The first title of the 2009 Formula BMW season has been claimed: victories in rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula BMW Americas series in Elkhart Lake/Road America (US) were enough to secure overall...

Chaves celebrates Formula BMW Americas title.

The first title of the 2009 Formula BMW season has been claimed: victories in rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula BMW Americas series in Elkhart Lake/Road America (US) were enough to secure overall victory for Eurointernational driver Gabby Chaves (CO) with races to spare. The 16-year-old has 205 points to his name, meaning he can no longer be caught by his closest rival, team-mate Giancarlo Vliarinho (BR), at the remaining two races in Mosport (CA). With 154 points, Vilarinho is assured of second place in the championship.

"I think Giancarlo has more wins than I do this year (six for Vilarinho to five for Chaves)," said Chaves after achieving the biggest success of his career so far. "But it has been our consistency and our ability to be there at the end that has won this championship. We have put ourselves in position to score big points in every race and that is what a champion does. I am very happy to have been a part of the Formula BMW Americas series this year and am excited to have won the title."

Vilarinho was shown the black flag for blocking another driver in the first race. In race two he was involved in a serious accident, which sent many drivers into retirement. However, all those involved were able to leave the medical centre without serious injuries. This incident crushed any hopes the South American may have had of winning the title. In contrast, the two rookies Joao Horto (BR) and Alex Ellis (CA) had good reason to celebrate. They each finished runner-up in races one and two respectively to record their best results of the current Formula BMW Americas season. Michael Lewis (US) finished third in both races.

The rookie standings promise to provide an exciting end to the season. James Kovacic (AU) currently leads on 95 points, just three ahead of Lewis. Ellis and Horto also travel to the season finale on 29th/30th August 2009 with hopes of snatching the title.

Chaves was not the only person to celebrate in Road America: in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), with whom Formula BMW Americas shared the bill, BMW Rahal Letterman Racing enjoyed its first taste of victory in the GT class. Joey Hand (US) and Bill Auberlen (US) brought home the class win in their BMW M3, while Tommy Milner (US) and Dirk Mueller (DE) finished second in the class to put the icing on the cake for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing.

Pla claims double victory in Formula BMW Europe.

Jim Pla (FR) enjoyed a perfect race weekend when Formula BMW Europe visited Valencia. The DAMS driver climbed to the top of the podium twice as the winner of rounds 11 and 12 of the 2009 season. These were the first victories for Pla and his team in the junior racing series.

"I am really happy to be on the podium twice this weekend in first position," said the 16-year-old. "The team did a very good job. On the last lap of race one when my team manager told me I could win I tried to push and then when I saw Felipe Nasr make a mistake the pressure was off me as I was alone on the track. In the second race I tried to push a lot after the Safety Car periods and keep my position."

Pla became the fifth driver this year to triumph in Formula BMW Europe, and moved up to fifth place in the Drivers' Championship. Felipe Nasr (BR), who finished runner-up in both the races held as part of the European Grand Prix weekend, holds top spot with 288 points to his name. Third place in rounds 11 and 12 at the "Valencia Street Circuit" went to rookie Robin Frijns (NL/Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Jazeman Jaafar (MY/Eifelland Racing).

Michael Christensen (DK) was the first driver to cross the line in both races. Like team-mates Timmy Hansen (SE) and Jack Te Braak (NL), the Muecke Motorsport driver's positions over the race weekend did not count towards the championship. The team was suspended from the races in Spain and Belgium after the oil pressure relief valve springs on all three cars in Budapest (HU) were found to breach the technical regulations. Muecke Motorsport appealed against this decision and so was able to start in Spain, but only under appeal.

Perfect weekend for Haryanto in Sentul.

Local hero Rio Haryanto (ID/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) dominated the Formula BMW Pacific race weekend in Sentul, Indonesia. The 16-year-old first claimed pole position and then all four race victories up for grabs at the "Sentul International Circuit". The four wins saw Haryanto move from ten points behind Gary Thompson (IR/E-Rain Racing) into a twelve-point lead. He now leads the overall standings with 146 points, ahead of Thompson on 134. Lurking in third is Formula BMW Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZW/Eurasia Motorsport), who has 124 points to his name and is currently the best-placed rookie.

Haryanto was joined on the podium in Sentul four times by Thompson, while Jefferies picked up three podium finishes. In the first race, Fahmi Ilyas (MY/E-Rain Racing) broke the leading trio's stranglehold on the podium. "There's nothing better than the feeling I have right now," said Haryanto after his triumphs in Sentul. "I am happy about the championship lead, but there's still a long way to go and I'm not thinking about taking the title yet because anything can happen."

The drivers and teams in Formula BMW Pacific are now preparing for a "hot fall": the five remaining races take the youngsters from Singapore (SG) -- as part of the Formula One race weekend -- via Okayama (JP) to Macau (MO), where the championship will end with a spectacular finale as part of the Macau Grand Prix weekend.

Rossi and Gutierrez given Formula One drives.

Two more former Formula BMW drivers will be given a taste of Formula One this winter. Alexander Rossi (US) and Esteban Gutierrez (MX) will complete their first kilometres in a Formula One car as part of three "Young Driver Days", which the BMW Sauber F1 Team has planned for 1st to 3rd December at the "Circuito de Jerez" (ES).

"Despite having announced our exit from Formula One, we will honour our commitments to young drivers in Formula BMW," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "Thus we are looking forward to granting another two Formula BMW graduates the opportunity of gathering experience in a Formula One car. Alexander Rossi earned the chance by winning the Formula BMW World Final last year, becoming the first US American to do so. Esteban Gutierrez won the Rookie of the Year award in the 2007 Formula BMW USA series, and won the overall championship in Formula BMW Europe last year against stiff opposition. In December both drivers will get to leave their mark in a Formula One test."

Formel BMW Racing Experience makes debut at the Nordschleife.

In mid August the Formula BMW Racing Experience enjoyed a spectacular debut: for the first time, the Formula BMW Racing Center at the Nuerburgring offered thrilled participants the opportunity to step behind the wheel of an FB02 and get better acquainted with the legendary Nordschleife, which is over 20km long. Day one saw the participants receive a theory lesson with valuable tips from experienced instructors, including BMW works driver Joerg Mueller from the World Touring Car Championship.

The second day was all about the "Green Hell". The drivers reeled off lap after lap of the Nordschleife. By the afternoon they could justifiably claim to have successfully overcome possibly the most challenging circuit in the world.

Would you also like to get a taste of motor racing at the Formula BMW Racing Center? You can find more information here:

Formula BMW Racing Experience

Formula BMW Alumni round-up.

- Nicolas Huelkenberg (DE) has taken another step towards winning the GP2 title: race one in Valencia saw the German start from pole position and eventually finish runner-up. He went on to claim his fourth win of the season in the sprint. Huelkenberg currently leads the Drivers' Championship on 75 points, ahead of Vitaly Petrov (RU, 55).

- A fourth win in succession at the "Valencia Street Circuit" kept alive the title aspirations of Rene Rast (DE) in the Porsche Supercup. With four races remaining, the German is now just 30 points behind overall leader Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), who currently has 172 points to his name.

- FC Basel driver Maximilian Wissel (DE) has picked up his first victory in Superleague Formula. At Donington Park (GB) the 19-year-old reduced the lead of championship leader Adrian Valles (ES/FC Liverpool) to ten points.

- In the ChampCar Atlantic Series, Jonathan Summerton (US) and Simona de Silvestro (IT) were both victorious. De Silvestro leads the overall standings with 135 points.

- Victory at Silverstone (GB) saw Daniel Ricciardo (AU) tighten his grip on the top of the British Formula 3 Championship. The Australian currently leads the rankings on 210 points, an impressive 45 points ahead of Walter Grubmueller (AT).

- With four races to go, Marcus Ericsson (SE) is now leading the Japanese Formula 3 Championship on his own, having tasted victory in Motegi (JP).

-credit: fbmw

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Dirk Müller , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Michael Lewis , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Adrian Valles , Tommy Milner , Mario Theissen , Vitaly Petrov , Nico Hulkenberg , Jonathan Summerton , Maximilian Wissel , Daniel Ricciardo , Jazeman Jaafar , Alexander Rossi , Esteban Gutierrez , René Rast , Marcus Ericsson , Michael Christensen , Timmy Hansen , Jack Te Braak , Robin Frijns , Axcil Jefferies , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Joao Horto , James Kovacic , Felipe Nasr , Joerg Mueller , Gabby Chaves
Teams Sauber , DAMS