USA: Formula BMW USA debuts in 2004

Woodcliff Lake, NJ, September 27, 2003 - The internationalization of Formula BMW has reached the United States. With this unique racing series for young drivers, which already is established in Germany, Asia and recently announced in the UK, the...

Woodcliff Lake, NJ, September 27, 2003 - The internationalization of Formula BMW has reached the United States. With this unique racing series for young drivers, which already is established in Germany, Asia and recently announced in the UK, the United States will host its own Formula BMW USA series for 2004.

"Formula BMW USA will provide the young entry-level racer, particularly from the kart racing ranks, the opportunity to experience all the demands of professional motorsport," said Tom Purves, CEO of BMW of North America, LLC. "This is an exciting way to develop promising drivers by showcasing their talents and preparing them to compete in the higher ranks of international motorsports. We would be thrilled if the next American Formula One driver comes from Formula BMW USA."

Talented drivers between the age of 16 and 23 will line up on the starting grid. They will learn the details of their sport with the most innovative Formula racing car in its class. Each of the candidates will be eligible for scholarship support from BMW of North America.

As part of the total Formula BMW USA program, drivers will participate in the Motorsport Professional training program. This program will provide young drivers with skills that they will need long term in the world of motorsports. BMW will organize several seminars conducted by experienced individuals to review important subjects such as:

-- Fitness Training & Nutrition
-- Vehicle Dynamics & Chassis Set-up
-- Driving Technique
-- Public Relations
-- Media Training #-- Sponsorship Research & Sports Management

"Formula BMW is firmly established overseas as the best entry-level form of motor racing for promising young karters looking for a stepping stone to single-seaters on their way to Formula One," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "With the BMW WilliamsF1 Team leading the FIA World Championship and with a strong desire to promote open-wheel racing in the U.S., we believe this to be the perfect time for us to introduce Formula BMW to America. For us safety is of paramount importance. We believe the Formula BMW car is the safest entry-level open-wheel racecar on the market."

The top finishing driver for the season in Formula BMW USA can go on to race in Europe, where the majority of world-class open wheel racing takes place. The season winner will earn a $50,000 scholarship that can be applied to a year of participation in Formula BMW in Germany.

BMW was engaged in promoting new talent in BMW-powered open-wheel racecars as early as 1991. With the development of the new Formula BMW racecar, the Formula BMW ADAC Championship was launched in Germany in 2002. This year, Formula BMW races are being held in Asia for the first time. To enhance an international platform with the goal of a world championship, Formula BMW UK and Formula BMW USA will now become the third and fourth pillars of BMW's commitment to nurturing young drivers towards an open-wheel racing career.

Formula BMW sets new benchmarks especially in safety standards. This state-of-the-art single-seat racecar is powered by a 140-hp BMW engine. Inspired by the BMW Formula 1 shape, DesignworksUSA sketched and modeled the Formula BMW car, which has a high-tech carbon-fiber chassis, meets the FIA safety requirements of the more powerful Formula 3 racing cars, and has been expanded to incorporate a Formula 1 standard with in-house development of the BMW Formula Rescue Seat (FORS). For additional safety measures, all drivers will be able to wear their HANS device (Head and Neck Support system).

"Who but BMW would search for the ultimate driver? We're excited by the challenge of launching this new motorsport program in the United States. While the management of a racing series is new to us, motorsports has always been an integral part of the BMW brand," said Tom Salkowsky, Manager, Consumer Events for BMW of North America. "The Formula BMW racecar has many of the same attributes as our production cars--high performance, advanced technology, safety and agility."

BMW of North America is currently in negotiations with Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) to potentially host select races in conjunction with the sanctioning body in 2004. An entire schedule of races in the U.S. and Canada will be announced later this year and may include the 2004 United States Grand Prix. The schedule will include a total of 14 races--two races will be run on each weekend at seven racetracks in North America. The majority of the race schedule will cover the summer-break period, between June and September, allowing young drivers to finish the school year.

Formula BMW has already launched numerous pilots onto the professional circuit. In particular, BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Ralf Schumacher, who made his debut in the forerunner to this series in 1992 and whose career has taken him to success in the Formula 1 Championship.

BMW Group In America

BMW of North America has been present in the United States since 1975. Since then, the BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW and MINI brands and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Corp. in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all Z4 roadster and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 340 BMW car, 327 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle, 148 BMW Motorcycle retailers, and 70 MINI dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

-www.bmwusa.com

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams