Woodcliff Lake, NJ - August 9, 2005-- The Formula BMW USA Championship travels to the Grand Prix of Denver for Rounds 11 and 12 on August 12 - 14 with the races for the Overall and Rookie titles as close as they have ever been in the two-year history of the series.
16-year old Junior Kevin Lacroix (AIM Autosport) has led the Overall points since Round 1, but, despite a fourth win in Round 9 and an eighth-place finish in Round 10, he leads fellow Junior driver Richard Philippe (Team Autotecnica) by a scant one point.
"It is my first time on a street course," said Lacroix. "It will be a challenge. I am confident and think I have a good chance to win, but most important for me is to finish the races and score points toward the Championship."
15-year old Philippe, with a second-place finish in Round 9 and a fourth in Round 10, ended the pivotal Barber Motorsports Park weekend with two more Overall points and one more Rookie point than Lacroix, taking the Rookie lead for the first time this season.
Both have never raced on a temporary street course making the 1.65-miles of concrete-walled asphalt the most important stretch of road they will have driven to- date. For Philippe, still too young for a driver's license, driving on the road will be something completely new, but he may have an ace up his sleeve. His older brother, Nelson Philippe pilots the Conquest Racing Champ Car and could provide his brother with some important help.
"Racing on a street course is going to be different," said Philippe. "I don't really know what to expect. It is especially exciting for me to be racing with my brother Nelson on the same weekend. I am sure it is going to be slippery and drivers will make mistakes. Cautious driving and smart moves will be important."
22-year old Maxime Soulet (Gelles Racing), one of the most experienced drivers in this season's field, has five podium finishes to-date and stands third in Overall points, only 16 points behind Lacroix. Soulet has not won yet this year and is certainly due.
Robert Wickens (Team Apex Racing USA) fell to fourth in Overall points and third in Rookie points despite two more top-10 finishes at Barber. The Round 6 winner is 21 Overall points from Lacroix and 10 Rookie points from Philippe, but is still very much in the hunt for both Championships.
A one-hour practice will be held on Friday, Aug. 12 at 9:00 a.m., followed by the Round 11 qualifying session at 4:45 p.m. in the afternoon. Round 12 qualifying will be held at 8:00 to 8:30 a.m., Saturday with the Round 11 race scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. The Round 12 race is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m. Sunday.