USA: Matt Lee heads to Bahrain for World Final

Lee to Represent America At Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain SYOSSET, N.Y., Oct. 24 - Matt Lee of Syosset, N.Y. will be one of only three American drivers from the Formula BMW USA series at the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain Dec. 13-16,...

Lee to Represent America At Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain

SYOSSET, N.Y., Oct. 24 - Matt Lee of Syosset, N.Y. will be one of only three American drivers from the Formula BMW USA series at the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain Dec. 13-16, and he's going as a member of a championship-winning team.

The Syosset High School junior will be the only driver from the Northeast at the World Final. He joins Reed Steven of Palo Alto, Calif. and Race Johnson of Portland, Ore. on the list of Americans from the Formula BMW USA series who are making the trip.

A total of 34 drivers from four regional series will go head-to-head at the first-annual, $60,000 event. The drivers competing at the World Final are culled from regional series conducted in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Asia. Fifteen nations will be represented in all.

In addition to prize money, the overall winner of the World Final will receive a test in a BMW Formula 1 car.

Four other Formula BMW USA drivers are also scheduled to participate, but they're from Canada, Australia and Italy. One other American (Jonathan Summerton of Kissimmee, Fla.) is also scheduled to be in Bahrain, but he's been competing in the German Formula BMW series this year.

Lee will represent his country as a member of the team that won the U.S. championship. After a successful test in Canada on Oct. 16, he has joined the Autotecnica Group for the World Final.

That team, headquartered in Toronto with a U.S. shop in Lake Park, Fla., guided Frenchman Richard Philippe of Key Bicayne, Fla. to the 2005 Formula BMW USA driver championship, winning three races and six poles in the 14-race series that concluded last month at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

Autotecnica will field cars for both Lee and Robert Wickens of Etobicoke, Canada at the World Final. Lee's car will be sponsored in part by Credit Suisse. His engineer will be Matthew Ferraro.

"Matt's driving is of the quality we're looking for to go to Bahrain and be competitive," said Enrico Diano, technical director, Autotecnica. "He did about 80 laps for us at Shannonville [a road course in Shannonville, Ontario, near Toronto] at the test. He did very well considering the cold weather. We weren't expecting to break any records, but looking at his driving style and aggressiveness, he's at a very good level to do well."

Diano said that Lee drove the championship-winning car at the test, but he'll drive his own Twin tooth Racing car in Bahrain. "We'll spend a week prepping his car before we go, and it'll be Autotecnica's preparation, set-up and at-track service at Bahrain," Diano noted.

Lee, 15, a champion go-kart driver who switched to formula car racing for the 2005 season, will turn 16 on Nov. 27.

"I'm very glad to have the opportunity to compete at the World Final in Bahrain, especially with a top team like Autotecnica," Lee said. "The Formula BMW USA series is extremely competitive, so I can only imagine the depth of the field when all the regions come together. I'll do my best to represent America in the best way possible, and I'll also do my best to represent myself and our team by learning as much as I can."

For more information see twintooth.com, formulabwmusa.com and autotecnicagroup.com.

-linda mansfield-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Robert Wickens , Richard Philippe , Jonathan Summerton , Matt Lee