USA: UK: D: AP: Champions to attend ROC event

Four Formula BMW talents at the Race of Champions. Munich, 16th November 2005. On 3rd December, four Formula BMW drivers will have the opportunity to perform alongside the world's top racing drivers at the Race of Champions staged in Paris.

Four Formula BMW talents at the Race of Champions.

Munich, 16th November 2005. On 3rd December, four Formula BMW drivers will have the opportunity to perform alongside the world's top racing drivers at the Race of Champions staged in Paris. Nicolas Huelkenberg (Emmerich), Dean Smith (GBR), Salman Al Khalifa (BRN) and Robert Wickens (CAN) will be making their appearance in the support programme of that event, which is held for the 18th time this year.

Three drivers in this talented quartet of youngsters claimed their first major title in Formula racing this past season by winning one of the four regional Formula BMW series. Huelkenberg (18) took the title in the German Formula BMW ADAC Championship, while Smith (17) won the UK Championship and Al Khalifa (23) took top honours in Asia. Wickens (16) was in contention for the Formula BMW USA title right up to the season final and proved the most consistent driver of the season.

"The Race of Champions is an excellent platform for Formula BMW," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "Four international Formula BMW talents will be representing their particular series in Paris. All four of them have another major appearance lined up for December: at the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain they will be competing to win a Formula One test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team."

Before Huelkenberg, Smith, Al Khalifa and Wickens head for the Formula BMW World Final at the Bahrain International Circuit in the hope of crowning a successful season 2005, they will demonstrate their driving prowess against a unique backdrop at the Race of Champions. Last year more than 62,000 motor sport fans made the pilgrimage to Paris' Stade de France to root for world-class drivers such as Michael Schumacher (Kerpen) and Sebastien Loeb (FRA).

International Media Productions President Fredrik Johnson, who created the event in 1988 together with rallye driver Michele Mouton, says: "We are glad that Formula BMW is part of The Race of Champions programme in 2005. This is the first time that Formula cars race the parallel race track in the Stade de France and we are really looking forward to see them and four of the world's most talented young drivers in action."

"That kind of atmosphere just gives you goosebumps as a driver," says Hulkenberg. "I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. It will be a chance to give the fans an insight into our series and simply to have fun out on track. It'll be an unforgettable experience." Smith concurs, adding: "I don't think I've ever driven in front of such a huge spectator turnout as there's going to be in Paris. For a young driver there's nothing to beat being able to display your skills against that kind of backdrop and next to all the superstars. It's going to be a real motor sport festival. I'm proud to have the chance of taking part."

Wickens reaction: "When I found out I would be allowed to take part in the Race of Champions, I couldn't believe it at first. It's going to be an incredible event. I'm especially looking forward to seeing Sebastien Loeb close up, as I'm also a fan of rally racing -- and he's simply the best." World Rally Champion Loeb will be flying the French flag along with his compatriot Jean Alesi. In addition, Dan Wheldon (GBR), Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) and David Coulthard (GBR) have confirmed that they will take part as well. In a unique contest, the stars will be competing against each other in different models. 2004 saw Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen win the Race of Champions.

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Dan Wheldon , Sébastien Loeb , Heikki Kovalainen , Stéphane Peterhansel , Michèle Mouton , Robert Wickens , Dean Smith , Mario Theissen , Nico Hulkenberg
Teams Sauber