USA: Wirth, Hinchcliffe receive test awards

Formula BMW USA Champion Wirth Awarded Champ Car Test; Rookie Champion Hinchcliffe To Test Toyota Atlantic Woodcliff Lake, N.J. - October 15, 2004-- Continuing to prove itself as the premiere, entry-level, open wheel racing series, Formula BMW...

Formula BMW USA Champion Wirth Awarded Champ Car Test; Rookie Champion Hinchcliffe To Test Toyota Atlantic

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. - October 15, 2004-- Continuing to prove itself as the premiere, entry-level, open wheel racing series, Formula BMW USA announced today that inaugural Champion Andreas Wirth has been awarded a Champ Car test with Forsythe Championship Racing. In addition, Rookie Champion James Hinchcliffe has been awarded a Toyota Atlantic test with Polestar Racing Group.

Both tests are scheduled to be held on November 29th and 30th at Sebring International Raceway.

"Champ Car is proud to provide a Champ Car test for Andreas and an Atlantic test for James," said John Lopes, Executive VP of Operations, Champ Car. "These young men have earned their stripes in 2004 with stellar performance in Formula BMW USA. Champ Car values its Formula BMW USA relationship and it is our intent to send a message to all prospective Formula BMW USA drivers that Champ Car will work to train them and provide them a push in the right direction in their chosen career. This year's test will be conducted by Forsythe Championship Racing for Andreas' Champ Car test and Polestar for James' Atlantic test. Congratulations again to both champions."

Gerald R. Forsythe, Chairman, Forsythe Racing Inc. added, "I am pleased and honored to be playing my part in support of the future of Formula BMW USA and its strong association with Champ Car, and I take this opportunity to congratulate every driver, team and official involved in Formula BMW USA for an outstanding first season. I have every confidence that Formula BMW USA has all of the ingredients to be an integral and inspirational championship in the careers of future champions of top level open wheel motorsport internationally, and I wish Andreas the very best for his well earned test with my Forsythe Championship Racing team at the demanding Sebring road course on November 29th."

Nineteen-year old Wirth and 17-year old Hinchcliffe battled to the final Round 14 race in Laguna Seca with Wirth coming out on top in the Championship to cap a stellar season. Hinchcliffe finished second to Wirth after clinching the Rookie title the day before in Round 13.

Wirth won four races of the 14-round Championship and was the picture of consistency throughout the season. Only missing the podium in three rounds, he never finished in less than a top-five position. In addition to the four wins, Wirth's season included three seconds, four thirds, two fourths and one fifth-place finish.

Selected as one of six 2004 Formula BMW USA Junior drivers, Hinchcliffe found his winning stride in Round 10 and tallied three consecutive wins. Seven podium, two-top five and two top-15 finishes brought Hinchcliffe the Rookie Championship and second in the overall Championship.

The 2004 Formula BMW USA Championship had one of the finest schedules of any racing series anywhere. The road to the Championship led through some of the most exciting circuits in North America. Beginning at Lime Rock Park, the series next supported the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Next it was the temporary airport circuit in Cleveland, followed by the classic Road America and the streets of Denver. The season finished at Laguna Seca Raceway.

Exciting circuits delivered tremendously exciting racing and, with the exception of two Rounds, every race included at least one pass for the lead. Many races were not decided until the very last corners.

As the 2005 schedule is being put together, a second licensing school is scheduled to be held December 7th and 8th at the Formula BMW Center in Valencia, Spain. The competition for five $40,000 Formula BMW USA Junior 2005-season scholarships is scheduled to be held in January.

Background:

BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen adds, "Our junior talent promotion program is an intensive basic education for successful kart drivers who want to move up into Formula racing. Our priorities are to create a level playing field through technically identical vehicles and scrupulously defined regulations, and to ensure maximum safety."

The ultra-modern Formula BMW racecar, which allows 15-year-olds to enter the world of motor racing, has been lining up on the grid all around the world since the 2002 season. It sets standards above all on the safety technology front. The single- seater, powered by a 140 bhp BMW motorcycle engine producing speeds up to 140 mph, features a carbon-fiber chassis and fulfils the safety requirements of the much higher-performance Formula 3 cars.

In 2004, Formula BMW will be staged in four different series held in Germany, England, Asia and the USA. Formula BMW events will be part of the Formula One support program on five occasions around the world. All the series go hand-in-hand with a comprehensive education and coaching program, as well as substantial financial backing for promising young talent. The most distinguished graduate is Ralf Schumacher. The star of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team made his racing debut in the junior class in 1992.

-fbmw.usa-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Andreas Wirth , James Hinchcliffe , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams