After ten years of Formula BMW Championships across Europe and Asia, BMW are embarking on a new method of youth driver development, with the introduction of the new 'Formula BMW Talent Cup'.
The Talent Cup's main aims are to offer young drivers a comprehensive education, while preparing them for a career in Motorsport. It is aimed at younger drivers than the current format, looking at drivers aged 14 and over. Despite the format changing, the car won't, with BMW continuing to use its Formula BMW FB02 model for the Talent Cup.
Mario Theissen, BMW's Motorsport Director, explains: “Promoting young talent continues to be an important strand of our realigned project landscape. BMW has been actively involved in supporting talented young drivers since the 1970s and aims to continue this tradition. With the Formula BMW Talent Cup we are positioning ourselves between karting and professional Motorsport, so starting out a stage earlier than with our previous Formula BMW concept. This realignment allows us to react to new conditions and the increase in costs seen in junior, single-seater racing. As such we are offering young drivers an extremely cost-effective platform and are sharpening our focus on practical driving experience and driver education so to provide them with the best possible preparation for their future career on and beside the track. At the end of the one-year training, the greatest talent will win a season in an appropriate higher race series financed by BMW.”
The training aspect of the Talent Cup includes a complete education programme, teaching the youngsters an academic approach to Motorsport, including intensive tests on track. Then they will be steadily introduced to competitive Motorsport, through track sessions, focusing on car set up, long runs, practice starts and qualifying and race simulations.
The accompanying track programme features courses on data analysis and car set up, as well as courses on driving technique. Before the season, each driver will partake in a fitness test, determining their season long training programme, consisting of physical and mental training. Drivers are also prepared for how to deal with media and sponsors in the future.
The season culminates in a Grand Final, taking place in authentic competitive conditions in a professional motor racing setting. A season in the Talent Cup is open to 15 participants, costing 100,000 Euro. Entry is only open to those without experience in racing series outside of karting and will aim to allow drivers to compete in karting at the same time, where possible.
Formula BMW in its current format has been hugely successful all over the world, producing many Formula One drivers and being a great stepping stone for drivers to move on in their careers, with well over 70 drivers moving into Formula 3 or similar series after Formula BMW.
There are seven former Formula BMW racers in the 2010 Formula One field alone. Four of them, Timo Glock, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg are former champions of the German series, Formula BMW ADAC, with Sebastian Buemi and Adrian Sutil also competing in that series. Bruno Senna formerly competed in the Formula BMW UK series.
The UK series ran for four seasons, between 2004 and 2007. Former Champions include 2004 winner Tim Bridgman, who has gone onto become Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champion in 2009, before moving into the Porsche Supercup for this season, 2005 winner Dean Smith, who became 2009 Formula Renault UK Champion and is now competing in GP3 and 2007 winner Marcus Ericsson, who became 2009 Japanese Formula 3 Champion and is this season a race winner in GP2.
With the current format being such a great success, it is hoped that the new 'Talent Cup' format will be just as successful in producing some top level race drivers. Any interested drivers should email [email protected] straight away. The official pre-registration for the 2011 season begins in late summer 2010 and all the latest information can be found at www.FormulaBMW.com.