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FormulaBMW USA .... Now this is interesting

Discussion in 'F1' started by writerguy, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    Copy of press release I just got...


    FORMULA BMW USA ANNOUNCES A14-RACE SCHEDULE UNDER CHAMP CAR SANCTION

    03/08/2004


    *

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ - March 8, 2004... BMW of North America, LLC announced today that it has reached an agreement with Open Wheel Racing Series, owners of the Champ Car World Series, to sanction the inaugural Formula BMW USA Championship.

    "We believe that Formula BMW USA is an important way for the next generation of Champ Car superstars to begin their open-wheel racing careers," said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. "The fact that these drivers and teams will be competing at some of our races gives them a great opportunity to showcase their talents to those team owners at the next level. Sometimes all it takes is for a driver to impress the right person and Formula BMW USA will give them that chance."

    With this agreement, Formula BMW USA's 14-race, seven-weekend championship becomes the premier North American open-wheel foundation series with races at the most visible venues including the Canadian Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and four Champ Car events.

    The season will open only 90 miles from BMW of North America's headquarters at Lime Rock Park, CT on May 31st. Formula BMW USA will then support the only two Formula One races in North America at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 13th and the United States Grand Prix on June 20th. The final four races of the year will be in support of the Champ Car World Series at Cleveland on July 3rd, Road America on August 8th and Denver on August 15th. The series finale will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 12th.

    Each Formula BMW USA race weekend will include two rounds of the Championship. Separate qualifying sessions will determine the grid for each 30-minute standing-start contest.

    "Formula BMW USA offers the most unique and visible championship to a driver taking their first steps into the world of professional motorsport," said Alex Schmuck, Formula BMW USA Motorsport Manager. "Formula BMW USA is a comprehensive series that allows our drivers to showcase their talent in front of both Formula One and Champ Car audiences. Our series is also proud to offer an innovative education and mentoring program."

    In addition, BMW will extend $15,000 toward spare parts for each race car. "We understand that the economics of racing can be difficult, so we are looking to support race teams and drivers with this incentive." added Alex Schmuck.
    2004 is the inaugural season of the Formula BMW USA Championship. Talented drivers from North, Central and South America will line up in state-of-the-art Formula BMW FB2s to begin the next step in their racing careers. A step to what could eventually be a seat at the pinnacle of motorsport - the Formula One World Championship.

    Already established in Germany and Asia and recently announced in the UK, Formula BMW has become a very successful proving ground for the aspiring open-wheel driver.

    Exceptional Prize Package
    The Formula BMW USA series offers a scholarship and prize packages totaling over $500,000. Six talented, young drivers were awarded $240,000 in scholarships, $40,000 per driver, last month. Additionally, total available prize monies top $260,000 for the Championship.

    Series championship prize monies total $81,000 with $20,000 going to the inaugural Formula BMW USA champion. Runner-up prizes are; 2nd-$15,000, 3rd-$12,000, 4th-$10,000, 5th-$8,000, 6th-$6,000, 7th-$4,000, 8th-$3,000, 9th-$2,000 and 10th-$1,000.

    A $50,000 scholarship will also be awarded to the 2004 Formula BMW USA Series Champion that can be applied to a year of participation in the 2005 Formula BMW Germany Championship. At each event, $5500 in per-race prize money will be awarded as follows: 1st- $1000, 2nd-$900, 3rd-$800, 4th-$700, 5th-$600, 6th-$500, 7th-$400, 8th-$300, 9th-$200 and 10th-$100.

    A separate Rookie Cup for those in their first year of racing will be a "championship within a championship" and will be based on the same scoring system. Rookie Cup monies will be in addition to the regular championship winnings and total $24,000. The inaugural Formula BMW USA Rookie Cup winner will receive $8,000, 2nd-$6,000, 3rd-$4,000, 4th-$3,000, 5th-$2,000 and 6th-$1,000. In addition, $2100 in per-race Rookie Cup prize money will be awarded as follows: 1st-$600, 2nd-$500, 3rd-$400, 4th-$300, 5th-$200 and 6th-$100.

    The Formula BMW FB2 Race Car
    A 140-horsepower, four-cylinder BMW engine powers the Formula BMW FB2 and propels the 1001-pound car to speeds approaching 140 miles per hour. A sequential six-speed gearbox feeds the power to Michelin racing slick tires. Adjustable front and rear wings and suspension allow the FB2 a large set-up range and an F1-style steering wheel houses a comprehensive electronic display. LED lights signal optimum shift timing and the display shows a range on information including engine parameters, current gear selection and last or best lap time. A multi-channel data acquisition system stores data for team use after each session.

    The Formula BMW FB2 sets new standards for safety in the category of racing. In addition to a carbon-fiber chassis meeting the FIA safety requirements of more powerful Formula 3 cars the driver sits in a BMW-developed Formula BMW Rescue Seat. In the event that it would become necessary to extricate the driver from the car the seat and driver can be removed from the car as one unit lessening the chances for additional injury. The seat and head surround have been designed to allow ample room for the wearing of a HANS device, which is mandatory in the Formula BMW USA Championship.

    Education & Coaching Program
    As part of the Formula BMW USA program, drivers will participate in an educational training program. This program will provide young drivers with skills that they will need long term in the world of motorsports. BMW will organize seminars throughout the season, conducted by experienced individuals to review important subjects such as, fitness training and nutrition, vehicle dynamics and chassis set-up, driving technique, public relations, media training, sponsorship research and sports management.

    2004 Formula BMW USA Schedule

    Licensing school Valencia, Spain March 30-31
    Official Test Sebring Test Circuit April 12-13
    Official Test Putnam Park April 22
    Official test Mid-Ohio May 12-13
    Race 1,2 Lime Rock Park May 28-31
    Race 3,4 Canadian Grand Prix June 11-13
    Race 5,6 United States Grand Prix June 18-20
    Race 7, 8 Cleveland July 01-03
    Race 9,10 Road America Aug. 06-08
    Race 11,12 Denver Aug. 13-15
    Race 13,14 Laguna Seca Sept. 10-12
     
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  3. formula1joe

    formula1joe Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    436
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    Joe Bennett
    Sign me up! I have no sponsor or cash, but willing to drive wheels off the car.
     
  4. aawil

    aawil Formula 3

    Aug 10, 2002
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    Aaron
    I wish I could afford one of these cars.I heard about it last year.What a dream it would be to drive one for a season.
     
  5. 96impalaSS

    96impalaSS F1 Rookie

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  6. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    I was offered 3 seperate rides for the innagural season... but didn't have enough backing.
     
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  8. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    As always in racing it is not the cubic inches but the cubic cash that wins
     
  9. 96impalaSS

    96impalaSS F1 Rookie

    Dec 8, 2003
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    Cubic Inches Vs. Currency Issues eh?
    Same thing goes on all the time with domestic racers and in a Vette and a ricer in a cheaper civic.
    Except in that case the inches win by car lengths
     
  10. Gilles27

    Gilles27 F1 World Champ

    Mar 16, 2002
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    Jack
    I think the F-BMW cars are cool-looking, and would love to drive one, but it amazes me how they have successfully played the cache of the BMW badge to escalate what are essentially updated F2000 racers into a prestigious racing series. Licensing school in Valencia?! What I DO like about it is the way it brings closer the concept of a global developmental series, with a solid presence in the U.S.
     
  11. TSMIV

    TSMIV Formula Junior

    Jan 27, 2004
    373
    Columbus, MS
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    Robert Goodman
    I was approached about participating in this a few months back, but I am too old to qualify if I understand correctly.
     
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  13. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
    Sponsor

    Nov 6, 2003
    31
    I actually participated in the January FBMW USA Scholarship Shootout in Valencia Spain, and the entire operation is first rate. The cars are tremendous, with beautiful Hewland 6-Speed sequential transmissions, carbon fiber monocoque chassis', and excellent attention to detail everywhere. The Licensing program/shootout itself in Valencia was an AWESOME experience, where I was instructred by BMW factory drivers Jorg Muller and Mike Strottmann. Obviously some were disappointed with the outcome and process of the scholarships themselves, but I'm just glad I got to drive such a great car on a cool track like Valencia. I would definately do it again if I had the chance.
    With respect to the series, it is rather pricey. But the fact that BMW is really backing it strongly, and Barber Dodge just folded their series for 2004 means that the grid should be STACKED with talented drivers. When I was in Valencia, you couldn't make any mistakes at all if you wanted a shot at it... I would expect that the drivers would ALL be 16-23 years old, and a SUPER competetive grid. Should be a cool series to watch!
    -Jeff
     
  14. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    Jeff: So were you awarded your FIA lic via completion of the course?
     
  15. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    How much are the cars?
     
  16. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
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    Nov 6, 2003
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    Well as I found out AFTER the course, completing that course does not earn you a license. I am ELIGIBLE for my FIA C license, but I still have to apply for the license and send payments, etc. on my own behalf. I had to apply for an FIA license through Grand-Am for the Rolex series anyway, so not a big deal. I went more for the experience itself, and for the possibility of winning one of the scholarships and becoming a BMW Junior Team driver. It was my first time EVER in a single-seater racecar, and I had a blast. (I still like driving GT/Touring cars a bit more though!)
    Cars are $65,000 if my memory serves me correctly, with something like a $12,000 deposit due to BMW NA on purchase, refunded upon entering in at least half of the 2004 season races. Most teams seem to be purchasing cars, and having drivers pay for the seat in the team owned car for a season. I personally was not able to come up with the budget needed to run the season, but the prices for a full season ranged from $180,000 up to $325,000 depending on the experience of the team, number of test days, crash damage liability, sponsor space on car, and so forth. If I could come up with the budget, believe me I would do it in a second over some of the other similarly priced Formula car series'. The teams are top notch, the cars a very very nice to drive (and safe), and the competition is very very very tough. For now anyway, I'm a Grand-Am boy.
    -Jeff
     
  17. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    Jeff, any chance that you'll ever be in a Challenge car again?
     
  18. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    When I was in conversation with BMW about the FIA lic, they made it sound like the lic was awarded in tandem with completing the course; i.e., they filed the paperwork for you -- I guess I misunderstood.
    You're right about the cost of the cars. 65k, with 12k deposit that is refunded/applied toward the season once you take delivery, so the car is actually 50k and some change.
    The ride offers I got were all ~ 200k for the season, and included the works; ie., testing/tires/no crash liability,etc., but there's no way I could make that fly; ironically, when I got an offer to run F Renault, just north of 100k, I thought "gee, what a bargain." Amazing how racing skews once perspective.
    I'm a little fish, in a very large ocean. So it goes...
     
  19. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
    2,684
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    Jon K.
    Jeff,

    Check out this months "Bimmer" magazine. There is an entire article on the Valencia test with a group photo (you're in it).

    Great article.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  20. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
    Sponsor

    Nov 6, 2003
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    Not in the Challenge series, that's all I know for sure. We still have out 360 Challenge car, to my knowledge it is still for sale at Algar, and I don't think we will race it again. It just got a full drivetrain overhaul, so I don't think we'll put hours on the motor since we're trying to sell it. We are going to campaign a Maserati Trofeo Light GT starting at Mont Tremblant, maybe even Phoenix. So unless the Maserati plans fall through (very very unlikely), I won't being seeing a Challenge car in competition for a while. I'd still like to take ours out for a goodbye drive!

    -Jeff
     
  21. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    Jeff, if you're very interested in formula cars, why not the pro formula mazda series? I've heard the season would be 150-200k. Great series, I know some of the players. I think I'd pick pro FM over Fran Am or FF2000 if I were ti do a US formula car development series, and wanted a more advanced car than Skippy offers. FBMW might have been my first choice.

    Will
     
  22. JSegal33

    JSegal33 Rookie
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    Nov 6, 2003
    31
    I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that I had always been very anti-openwheel before I went to Valencia with FBMW. More so than enjoying the car, I enjoyed the fact that the rest of the grid was the best of the best for the category, and it was really a no BS comparison to where I was in relation to the rest of them... No co-driver, no wondering if I had a faster car or a worse set of tires, as few variables as possible. I really enjoyed that... I also liked FBMW, because of the BMW involvement in the program. Sure, Mazda is 'involved' in FM, and the cars finally look like decent racecars, but they really can't do much for their drivers short of handing over the keys to an RX-8 if that. BMW has PTG, Touring Cars, Formula One, and a variety of other racing activities that could potentially be open to someone that does well in FBMW. That really makes the program appealing. Plus, BMW wants it to work. All of us that went to Valencia paid $3,500. That was all inclusive. They paid airfare, hotel (in a VERY VERY VERY nice hotel I might add), food, transport to the track, track rental, cars, damage liability... EVERYTHING. There is no WAY they even broke even. That made me feel really good about the program in a way.
    Having said all that, I am not too upset to not be doing a FBMW program this year. Grand-Am and Sportscars are exciting in their own right, and certainly the Maserati presents a rather unique and interesting program. I want nothing more than to see this car become a winner, and it will... soon! Maybe it is because I have already sat back and realized that my chances of getting to F1 are negligible, so I am not so gung-ho about being on all the right ladder steps like other people in racing at my age. I am very happy racing anything, anywhere... If it has wheels, I'd love to race it, period. I'll take what I can get, and in this case Grand-Am isn't a bad option at all! Maybe FBMW in 2005, who knows!!!
     
  23. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    Great analysis, I think you've identified why FBMW likely would be my first choice - if I were of the right age.

    Hope to see you at the front of the field.

    Will
     
  24. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

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    #21 writerguy, Mar 11, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  25. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    "Ahh Formula Mazda anyone....???? Great racing"

    Just wait until the new cars make their debut next week at Sebring ... I think you'll have some teams chasing gremlins, but the racing should be fantastic.
     
  26. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    True I guess the new tubs are being done by G-force Panoz operation out of atlanta ... Any info?
     
  27. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    The bare basics are below, check www.starmazda.com for more details. The new cars are beautiful and very fast; they are vastly more sophisticated than the old cars. Sales, as I understand it, have been phenomenal, given the cost of the machine all in, about $85k. No affiliation, etc.



    Constructor
    Star Race Cars www.starmazda.com

    Engine
    Sealed Mazda Renesis rotary, 240 hp

    Fuel System
    Fuel injection, electronic

    Transaxle
    Hewland FTR 6-speed sequential, with no lift shift

    Front Suspension
    Pushrod, inboard with 2-way adjustable shocks

    Rear Suspension
    Pushrod, inboard with 2-way adjustable shocks

    Brakes
    4-piston alloy calipers w/vented floating steel rotors

    Wheels
    Front 9x13 Rear 11x13

    Bodywork
    Fiberglass

    Weight
    1050 lbs without driver

    Top Speed
    165 mph

    Wheelbase
    101 inches

    Track
    Front 61.5 inches Rear 58.5 inches

    Features
    Carbon fiber tub, traction control, adjustable wings

    Price New
    $69,500 track ready plus options, shipping & tax
     
  28. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
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    WOW cool thanks for the link
     

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