Young guns to clash in Valencia World Final

It's late November, and once again BMW will bring together the top drivers from the four Formula BMW series around the world for the World Final in Valencia, Spain. 35 young drivers from the the Asia, Germany, UK and USA championship series will battle it out this weekend for glory -- and a Formula One test.

#11 Josef Kral (CZ) Double R Racing Formula BMW FB2.
Photo by Mike Lambert - Gridshots.
Three of the four series champions will be in attendance, with only the Formula BMW UK champion Marcus Ericsson giving a pass to the event. The Swedish youngster has already signed to run the British Formula 3 championship with Fortec Motorsport, his current Formula BMW team, skipping a few steps on the racing ladder in the process.

Jens Klingmann, the German series champion, will lead a contingent of 12 drivers from that series. Klingmann, who took an impressive nine victories in 18 races for Eifelland Racing, will be joined his teammate and championship runner-up Daniel Campos, as well as the other three top-five championship finishers: Philipp Eng, Adrien Tambay and Marco Wittman.

From across the channel, Josef Kral will carry the banner for the UK series -- while representing his native Czech Republic. Kral, who held the championship lead going into the penultimate race weekend at Brands Hatch, could not keep up with his Swedish rival in the final two races, but got some consolation by finishing second at the highly competitive German series finale in Hockenheim. Kral will be joined by third- and fourth-place championship finishers Henry Arundel and Kimiya Sato, as well as nine other drivers from the UK series.

Daniel Morad.
Photo by Tom Haapanen.
Across the Atlantic, Daniel Morad took a convincing lead in the Formula BMW USA series by mid-season, and then played things safe in the late races. After clinching the title in the first race at the Mosport finale, he finished the season in style -- abd with a convincing 87-point margin over Esteban Gutierrez -- by winning the final race of the year. Gutierrez scored nine poles in the 14 races, but a disastrous weekend at Lime Rock put him behind the eight-ball in the championship battle. Third-placed Alexander Rossi, fourth-ranked Maxime Pelletier and four other USA series drivers are also making the trip.

On the other side of the world, the Formula BMW Asia title fight went to the final race -- and beyond. Zahir Ali took the title by just one point over his chief rival, Jazeman Jaafar, after Jaafar's car failed post-race technical inspection leading to the Malaysian driver's disqualification. The duo will be back on track in valencia, though Jaafar is switching to the AM-Holzer Rennsport team for the World Final.

A full day of testing on Friday will be capped by a super-pole competition, and then followed by a series of heat races on Saturday and Sunday morning. The grids for the heat races will be set based on the super pole competition, and a points system -- similar to that used for sailing competitions -- based on the results of the heat races will then set the grid for Sunday afternoon's final.

The winner will, in addition to $10,000 in prize money and the glory, receive a test drive in the BMW Saube Formula One car; last year's World Final winner, Christian Vietoris, will be doing his F1 test on Thursday at Valencia.