USA: Laguna Seca rounds one, two preview

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - April 22, 2005-- The curtain rises on the second Formula BMW USA Championship season on April 29 - May 1 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Racing on the US Sports Car Invitational weekend, 21 young drivers will...

Woodcliff Lake, NJ - April 22, 2005-- The curtain rises on the second Formula BMW USA Championship season on April 29 - May 1 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Racing on the US Sports Car Invitational weekend, 21 young drivers will begin the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship hunt at the same track where the 2004 champions were crowned last season.

One of North America's classic road courses, Laguna Seca's serpentine 2.238- mile's will provide quite a stage for the opening act of the 14-race series, with most drivers making their professional racing debut.

Six days of official testing have been completed in the last four weeks, with many showing potential star quality. Two BMW Juniors, Richard Phillipe (15) and Kevin Lacroix (16), have consistently been close to the top of the unofficial timing charts. Also, catching the eye of Formula BMW USA coaches by posting top-five unofficial times in various sessions were, Maxime Soulet (21), James Davison (16), Robert Wickens (16), John Zartarian (17), Matt Lee (15), Rob Bunker (16), Daniel Herrington (19), Tom Sutherland (16) and Race Johnson (16).

"After a successful debut season last year, I'm again looking forward to high- quality motorsport with talented youngsters in the Formula BMW USA 2005," said BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen. "The field of participants has expanded significantly since 2004, with 21 drivers registered for the series. And with the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain, 2005 has a highlight in the calendar. Drivers from all four international Formula BMW Series will give of their best. A Formula 1 test drive is the incentive for the winner."

In addition to the official testing, each team has successfully installed the 2005 FB02 update kit and passed the first scrutineering of the season. Including performance and safety improvements, the 2005 specification package includes a new braking system that includes larger, floating rotors, and brake pads from new Formula BMW technical partner Ferodo. Safety highlights include, a second retention tether added to each rear wheel, as well as additional high-density foam added to support the FB02's unique FORS extraction seat system.

Practice and qualifying for Round 1 will be held on Friday, April 29th. Qualifying for Round 2 will be at 8:00 a.m. Saturday and the Round 1 race is scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m. The Round 2 race will start at 3:35 p.m. on Sunday, May 1.

Background:

Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and- coming drivers as young as 15 years of age are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.

Since 2002, this racecar has been seen on the grid and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. A single-seater propelled by a 140 bhp BMW motorcycle engine up to 140 miles per hour, it exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Seat especially for Formula BMW, and the HANS safety system is also mandatory.

In 2005, Formula BMW will be a support race at five different Formula One race weekends worldwide. Formula BMW offers a multifaceted Education and Coaching Program, as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents via the Junior Program. The best-known alumni of Formula BMW are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien and Timo Glock.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a car. In the Education and Coaching Program we have designed specially for them, they learn everything they need to know to hold their own in the big wide world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."

-bmw.usa-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Christian Klien , Timo Glock , Robert Wickens , Kevin Lacroix , Daniel Herrington , Maxime Soulet , John Zartarian , Tom Sutherland , Mario Theissen , Matt Lee