World Final pre-race notes

The countdown is on for the first Formula BMW World Final. Munich - December 9, 2005-- The curtain is about to go up on the first Formula BMW World Final. From December 13 to 16 at the Bahrain International Circuit, 36 young racing drivers will...

The countdown is on for the first Formula BMW World Final.

Munich - December 9, 2005-- The curtain is about to go up on the first Formula BMW World Final. From December 13 to 16 at the Bahrain International Circuit, 36 young racing drivers will be vying for the crown in BMW's junior talent promotion scheme. The starting signal will be given at 12 o'clock local time on Tuesday, when the drivers head out onto the 3.596-kilometer Paddock Circuit of this state-of-the-art race track for their first Free Practice session.

The incentive among the drivers to succeed in the desert emirate of Bahrain is considerable: awaiting the winner of the World Final will be a test drive for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. "The Formula BMW World Final is a tremendous opportunity for me," says the winner of the German Formula BMW ADAC Championship, Nicolas Huelkenberg (GER). "It's my dream to race in Formula One some time. If I win here, I'll be one step closer to my goal."

But Huelkenberg isn't the only driver keen to make his mark as a potential candidate for motor racing's top echelon. The best drivers of the four Formula BMW series held in Germany, the UK, Asia and the USA will be taking part in the World Final. Appearing alongside Huelkenberg in this spectacular closing event of the season will be the champions of the Formula BMW series in the UK and Asia, Dean Smith (GBR) and Salman Bin Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH).

At the latest since his appearance in the Race of Champions in Paris on December 3, Robert Wickens (CAN) - who came third in this year's Formula BMW USA Championship - also ranks among the favorites to win the World Final. In the Formula BMW invitation race at the Stade de France, the 16-year old managed to prevail against Huelkenberg, Smith and Al Khalifa before a crowd of more than 50,000 spectators. In Bahrain, Wickens plans to carry on from where he left off, "I'm really looking forward to the World Final," he says. "Although I am in no doubt that it's going to be difficult to repeat my victory in the Race of Champions. But I have proven that I can keep up with the three champions from the other series - and that gives me a great deal of self-confidence."

On the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit, contestants have three Free Practice sessions and one Qualifying event lined up as well as five races. That means the winner will have to deliver repeated evidence of his racing prowess to claim the title of "Best Formula BMW Driver of the Year". For the fans, this competition format promises racing action galore. The support program also has plenty to offer: the BMW M3 GTR, for example, with which Team BMW Motorsport took two one-two victories in succession in the Nuerburgring 24-Hour Race, will be in action out on the track. Also revving up in the desert will be the BMW V12 LMR, winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999, and the BMW M1 Procar.

The World Final marks the close of an exciting Formula BMW season 2005. No other globe-spanning entry-level series is as effective as Formula BMW when it comes to introducing young talents who have outgrown their go-karts to the world of professional motor racing. All four of this year's champions took part in the BMW Education and Coaching Program before claiming their titles.

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

This racing car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set the standard for safety and technology. The single-seater is powered by a 140 bhp BMW engine and can achieve speeds of 140 mph and exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. The HANS safety system is also mandatory.

In 2005, Formula BMW was staged five times as part of the Formula One support program. All the series offer a multifaceted Education and Coaching Program as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents. The best-known alumni are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien and Nico Rosberg.

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 world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."

From December 13 to 16, 2005 the Bahrain International Circuit will host the first Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other. The winner will get a test drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

-bmw-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ralf Schumacher , Nico Rosberg , Christian Klien , Robert Wickens , Dean Smith , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber