WKA: Formula BMW Americas news 2009-06-03

Formula BMW Americas Meets With Karters At CKI Grand Prix The Formula BMW Americas series showed its commitment to the next generation of open- wheel racing stars over the weekend as the series, along with three-time IndyCar champion Bobby...

Formula BMW Americas Meets With Karters At CKI Grand Prix

The Formula BMW Americas series showed its commitment to the next generation of open- wheel racing stars over the weekend as the series, along with three-time IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal, went to New Castle Motorsports Park in New Castle, Indiana to meet with the karters competing at the inaugural Championship Karting International (CKI) CKI Grand Prix of New Castle presented by Bridgestone.

Formula BMW Americas introduced its world-class open-wheel driver development series to more than 100 of the nation's top karters from six classes that were on hand at the weekend's CKI event. The WKA-sanctioned event also debuted on SpeedcastTV.com and RaceFanRadio.com as the first-ever live video webcast kart event with 'network TV-type' production. The series had a display in the tech inspection area complete with one of the Formula BMW FB02 cars as well as other BMW production models.

As Formula BMW Americas continues to create a concise career path to the top of the open-wheel racing world, Rahal conducted a pair of informational meetings for karters on Saturday. Nearly 20 karters and their families sat in to listen to the former Indianapolis 500 winner extol the virtues of graduating from karts into Formula BMW Americas.

"A big reason why we at Rahal Letterman Ventures are involved with Formula BMW Americas is to show the young drivers how they can benefit from running in the series - much like my son Graham did on his way to racing Indy Cars," Rahal said. "It had been a while since I had been in a karting paddock, but it brought back a lot of good memories to see the kids and the families working so hard."

As part of the seminar, Formula BMW Americas raffled off a free seat in one of its recently-announced Licensing Courses, which qualifies drivers to compete in the series. In addition, the courses also determine the recipients of the prestigious Formula BMW Junior Scholarships, which have aided many drivers along their way to open-wheel success. The scholarships provide more than financial assistance to the drivers as the program includes education and coaching seminars at every race, media and sponsorship training as well as fitness and diet instruction.

Mark Pellegrini of Bridgewater, Massachusetts won the chance to participate in the Licensing Course, which will take place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on July 8-10 and August 17-19. The 15-year-old Pellegrini, who has competed in Rotax Juniors, Florida Winter Tour and the Northeast Championship for the last three seasons, will take part in the August course.

"Winning the Formula BMW Licensing Course raffle is really cool," Pellegrini said. "It's a great chance for me to apply my karting skills to race cars and learn driving techniques from some of the very best instructors. It's going to be a lot of fun. I want to thank Formula BMW for the opportunity and CKI for putting together such a fantastic event."

"BMW is a prestigious brand with a long, successful history in racing and we're proud to have them associated with CKI. We greatly appreciate Formula BMW Americas coming on board to support the series at our first event," states CKI co-founder RJ Valentine. "The CKI team is excited at having our competitors hone their skills in the CKI series with the prospect of moving up to a program as renowned as Formula BMW Americas."

In addition to the Licensing Courses, the Formula BMW Americas series is holding another event that allows young karters to get their first experience in an open-wheel racing car. The series is holding a Recruitment Day at Putnam Park in Mount Meridian, Indiana on June 25. The Recruitment Day offers a free opportunity for drivers to get behind the wheel of the FB02 Formula BMW Americas car, as well as the chance to meet with some of the teams that compete in the series.

Any drivers born before December 31, 1994 that are interested in participating in the Recruitment Day or the Licensing Course should contact Series Manager Randy Biggs at Randy.Biggs@partner.formulabmw.com or by calling +1 (614) 216-5882.

The 2009 Formula BMW Americas series is at its halfway point, with seven rounds already contested. Brazilian Giancarlo Vilarinho is the current points leader, with seven rounds left to run. The next races take place July 17-18 at Lime Rock Park, followed by events at Road America on August 13-16 and Mosport International Raceway August 27-30.

-credit: bmw americas

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About this article
Series Formula BMW , Kart
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Giancarlo Vilarinho , Mark Pellegrini