BAMBER ENDORSES FORMULA BMW PATHWAY At the end of a year that has seen Earl Bamber gain an international profile in the sport of motor racing, the young Wanganui driver has given his wholehearted praise to BMW and the motorsport opportunities...
BAMBER ENDORSES FORMULA BMW PATHWAY
At the end of a year that has seen Earl Bamber gain an international profile in the sport of motor racing, the young Wanganui driver has given his wholehearted praise to BMW and the motorsport opportunities the company provides.
Bamber was just 15 - years old when he joined Team Meritus for the Formula BMW Asia Championship at the beginning of the year. The veteran of only six motor race meetings when he ventured to Asia, Bamber emerged from his first foray in international motor racing as the Formula BMW Asia Champion and he is clearly pleased that he and his supporters chose the Formula BMW career path.
"It was certainly the right choice for me," said Earl at his Wanganui home recently as he contemplated a very successful year. "Formula BMW has to be one of the best choices a young New Zealand driver has." Referring to his Asian campaign Bamber say's, "where else would you race on two Formula 1 circuits as a support category at two World Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix events during the season? The series has a television audience of 200 million people and BMW offers full support to series participants including driver coaching plus media and fitness training. It would be difficult to find a better package anywhere in the world."
Winning the championship title also gave Bamber the opportunity to compete in the Formula BMW World Final at Valencia in Spain at the conclusion of the season, another bonus of competing in the series. While the logistics of getting his championship winning car from Asia to Spain in time for the final could not be overcome, Bamber then received an invitation to the end of year BMW Motorsport party. BMW paid for the Wanganui Collegiate school student to attend the party at Flimx Laax Falera ski resort, 150 kilometres south - east of Zurich. The invitation came in recognition of Bamber's feat of taking the championship in his rookie year, the first driver anywhere in the world to achieve that milestone. While attending the party Bamber met BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Thiessen and also visited the BMW Formula 1 factory. The BMW Motorsport Party guest list included BMW Formula 1 stars Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel plus other high profile BMW drivers.
A Formula BMW car, similar to the one that Bamber used to win the Asian Championship will be in New Zealand next month and Bamber urges kiwi drivers to have a look and consider the formula as a career option. "It is a category in which a driver can go to straight from karting and receive a high level of support from BMW". The class utilises the high - tech FB02 chassis fitted with a 140bhp K1200 engine, a package capable of 230 kilometres per hour.
While some have criticised the Asian Series as a weaker championship Bamber dismisses the notion. "The efforts of Australian Daniel Ricciardo at the World Final puts the series into context", he says. Ricciardo, who finished third in the Asian Series behind Bamber, travelled to the World Final where he finished fifth, ahead of both the UK and USA Formula BMW Champions. Ricciardo subsequently went on to test a Formula Renault car at Valencia earlier this month where he set a new lap record in his first outing, beating many of last season's top Renault drivers in the process.
The Asian Series also represents good value as it has just as many races as the other series but it can be done at half the price.
Contesting the Formula BMW Asia Series has certainly opened up a great many opportunities for Bamber and another driver to benefit immensely from Formula BMW is his countryman Chris Van Der Drift of Hamilton. Van Der Drift spent two years in the Formula BMW German Series where he was spotted and given assistance to gain drives in higher formulae in Europe.
Meanwhile Bamber's next appearance in his home country will come at the Lady Wigram Trophy Race meeting at Powerbuilt Raceway at Ruapuna near Christchurch over the weekend of 6/7 January. His New Zealand season is being supported by TradeZone Industrial Group and their supplier partners CRC, Koken, Hitachi Power Tools, Bahco, Fuller Hand Tools , Wanganui Toyota and South Taranaki Toyota.
All young drivers need recognition in the sport to advance their careers and what more could a 16 - year old Wanganui schoolboy expect other than what the Formula BMW Asia Series has deIivered. Check out Earl's profile at www.bmw-motorsport.com while information about the Formula BMW Asia Series can be sourced at www.afos.com or at www.meritusracing.com