Woodcliff Lake, NJ - August 29, 2006-- Mosport International Raceway, Canada's Home of Motorsports, will host the final two Rounds of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship during the Labor Day Grand Prix on September 1-3. Racing in support of the...
Woodcliff Lake, NJ - August 29, 2006-- Mosport International Raceway, Canada's Home of Motorsports, will host the final two Rounds of the 2006 Formula BMW USA championship during the Labor Day Grand Prix on September 1-3. Racing in support of the American Le Mans Series on Canada's biggest sports car racing weekend, Rounds 13 and 14 will decide the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion and Rookie of the Year.
After 12 exciting Rounds across North America, the points are the closest in Formula BMW USA history. The two front runners for both championships are Canadians who both call the complex 2.46-mile, 10-turn Mosport International Raceway their home-track. Robert Wickens (EuroInternational) leads the Overall championship and Daniel Morad (AIM Autosport) leads the Rookie points.
With three wins and seven podium finishes Wickens has led the championship since Round 3. He enters the final Rounds with an 18 point lead over Matt Lee (Autotecnica). With 20 points awarded to the winner of each Round, the 17-year old knows nothing but two good performances will secure him the title. Wickens can however rely on his home field advantage and count on the support of his friends and family. "I am really happy to be going into the last two races of the year as the point's leader. Mosport is a track that I have always wanted to race. It is very fast with high speed turns so I am sure all the drivers will enjoy racing there. This year the level of competition has been very close which would make winning the championship that much more special!"
Matt Lee, with five pole positions and five podium finishes that include two wins, stands second and will do everything in his power to bar Wickens from winning the championship title. The 17-year old from Syosset, NY, is eager to win the championship, "I really want to be the 2006 Formula BMW USA Champion. I want to be a professional race car driver at the highest level. Team owners recognize drivers who win championships, and winning this title would help my career. It would always be something that I would be very proud of because this series is very competitive and it's hard to win a race in it, let alone the championship. BMW stands for high quality and this series has excellent drivers and excellent teams. It would be great to be the champion." He adds, "I think we've done well this year to be in a position to win the championship. I feel I've grown as a driver - both with my skills on the track and off."
Third in the championship points stands Californian Reed Stevens (HBR Motorsport Team USA). Only nine points behind Lee and 27 points behind Wickens he needs to score two excellent top-three finishes in the final Rounds to get the chance to come on top of the points - provided that Wickens and Lee have poor results. After six podiums and three wins the 21-year old looks confident to the final challenge, "My team and I are working as hard as ever and with a win rate of 50 percent and a podium rate of 100 percent in the second half of the season, our only goal going into Mosport is to capture the championship. Winning the championship was our intention going into the 2006 season though some mechanical failures have made this much more difficult to realize. It is tough to think how things would be if I had just taken a few points from those races when the car broke, but I'll push 100 percent until the final race is over, hopefully it is enough to win what I really want, the 2006 champion title."
Wickens' teammate Simona de Silvestro has still hopes to win the championship title. The most successful woman ever in Formula BMW worldwide de Silvestro stands fourth in the Overall points. With four podium finishes the 17-year old Swiss- Italian is ten points behind Stevens and aspires to finish the 2006 championship on one of the podium's steps. She said, "In Mosport we will have our last races of this season. I still hope to win the championship. This title would be very special for me because it would be the first championship for me. I am very confident and I am going to push to win."
The points in the Rookie championship are even tighter than the Overall championship. Canadian Daniel Morad, who stands sixth in the Overall championship, is on top of the Rookie points. With one win and another podium as well as six best-Rookie finishes the 16-year old is looking forward to racing the final Rounds close to his hometown Markham, Ontario. "I'm really looking forward to racing at Mosport since it's only minutes from my home. Hopefully, I would have the results that can make my family, friends and fans proud."
Only four points ahead of David Garza (EuroInternational) and five points on top of Sebastian Saavedra (Gelles Racing) Morad has something to prove in front of his family and friends. "The top-three in Rookie points is the tightest it's been all year," said Morad. "These are the last two races, and in order to maintain my lead, I am hoping to finish top-Rookie both days. As I am planning to return to the series next year, becoming the top Rookie will hopefully allow me to return as a BMW Junior driver in 2007."
Mexican David Garza shares the same hopes - winning the title 'Rookie of the Year'. With two third-place finishes, the 18-year old is a hard rival in the battle for this title. He said, "I have been preparing for this race since I got back from Denver. I think that this will be the most important race of my career so far. It would mean the world to me if I could finish the season winning the Rookie championship. Having put so many hours into preparations this year and trying my best every day, with this trophy everything would have been worth it. Hopefully with a lot of hard work and some luck I can claim this dream."
Two 30-minute practice sessions will be held on Friday, September 1 at 10:05 a.m. and 12:25 p.m., followed by Round 13 qualifying at 3:55 p.m. Round 14 qualifying will be held at 9:35 a.m. on Saturday with the Round 13 race scheduled to start at 4:25 p.m. After a 20-minute warm-up at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, the Round 14 race is scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m. The Championship Banquet will begin at 6:30 p.m. that evening.
A total of 31 drivers have competed in at least two Formula BMW USA races this year and while the titles will be decided at Mosport, the season will not be completely finished. All Formula BMW drivers worldwide can participate in the Formula BMW World Final at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in Spain on November 24 through 26. Formula BMW drivers from the Asian, German, UK and North American Formula BMW series will compete for the World Final crown and a test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.