NA: Interlagos rounds 16, 17 preview

To complete the 2008 season, Formula BMW Americas will hold Rounds 16 and 17 as undercard to the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 31 - November 2. With the Overall title won by Californian Alexander Rossi and a third consecutive Team championship...

To complete the 2008 season, Formula BMW Americas will hold Rounds 16 and 17 as undercard to the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 31 - November 2. With the Overall title won by Californian Alexander Rossi and a third consecutive Team championship won by Eurointernational at the most recent Rounds at Thunderbolt Raceway, in Millville, NJ, the battle in Sao Paulo is for the Rookie championship. Increasing the importance of the weekend to the careers of the four drivers within reach of the title, the winner will be awarded a 2009 Junior scholarship that includes an $80,000 stipend.

Formula BMW Junior Gianmarco Raimondo (Autotecnica) has led the Rookie point standings since winning the opening two Rounds at Laguna Seca, but two other Junior team members have been making a run at him. Canadian Mikael Grenier and Brazilian Alexandre Ruiz, teammates on the Apex-HBR Racing Team, are five and six points behind Raimondo respectively. All three of the young men would like nothing better than to be offered the opportunity to return to Formula BMW Americas for a second year as a Formula BMW Junior. With two podium finishes in the last two Rounds Giancarlo Vilarinho (Eurointernational) has closed to within 12 points of Raimondo. Vilarinho, from Sao Paulo, would love to win the title in front of his hometown friends and family.

This is the first-ever visit to the famed Interlagos circuit by Formula BMW and the entry list is boosted by five guest drivers, two from the Formula BMW Europe series. Five drivers entered call Sao Paulo home. They include Formula BMW Americas drivers Vilarinho, Ruiz and Ricardo Favoretto (Autotecnica). Amir Nasr Racing teammates Luiz Felip Nasr and Lucas Foresti come from Sao Paulo and will be making their Formula BMW racing debut after attending Licensing Courses in 2007.

Racing on the 4.309-kilometer, 15-turn circuit in front of the Formula One teams is sure to be a thrill and challenge the young Formula BMW drivers.

Rookie points leader Raimondo's preparation and sentiment speak for most every driver, "I am very excited to get back in the car again and I can't wait to be in the F1 atmosphere. Since the Rookie Championship is so close I will have to drive at my absolute best to be successful. To get prepared for the weekend, the team and I are working with simulation programs. I've spent numerous hours "driving" Interlagos to familiarize myself with the track. I've also gone through intensive workout sessions with my trainer to ensure that I'm in top physical condition."

Practice will be held at 8:50 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31, followed by qualifying for Rounds 16 and 17 at 5:25 p.m. The driver's fastest time will set the grid for Round 16 and their second fastest time will lineup Round 17. The Round 16 race begins at 4:40 p.m. on Saturday and the Round 17 race is scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. Sunday.

-credit: bmw

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Alexander Rossi , Ricardo Favoretto , Giancarlo Vilarinho , Alexandre Ruiz , Mikael Grenier , Gianmarco Raimondo , Lucas Foresti