- Parent Category: BMW Racing News
- Category: 2017 BTCC
- Published on Friday, 24 February 2017 22:50
- Written by Jeff Seabrook
- Hits: 17
A further chapter in BMW’s illustrious history in touring car racing unfolded today as BMW UK, in partnership with West Surrey Racing (WSR), announced a three-car team that will again bid for victory of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.
The announcement of TEAM BMW is a landmark occasion, marking BMW’s return to the country’s best-watched motor race series as a manufacturer team. It has been 21 years since the marque last contested the series in this manner, when BMW Team Schnitzer fielded a BMW 320i line-up.
Graeme Grieve, CEO of BMW Group UK, commented: “The BTCC is one of the most significant race series in the UK and has a huge and enthusiastic following. With a history of success and the continuous support of WSR for the past decade, we are delighted to step up as a Manufacturer Team again after 21 years.”
BMW UK’s significant financial investment in the BTCC team includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.
At the launch at BMW Park Lane, London, Graeme Grieve joined WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, to remove the wraps from one of the three BMW 125i M Sport team cars that will contest the 2017 BTCC. With the cars freshly-developed, prepared and run again by WSR, BMW’s return to the Series as a Manufacturer coincides with a further landmark, marking a decade since WSR first contested the BTCC with BMW, which has endured to this day.
The BMW relationship with Dick Bennetts’ Sunbury-based operation in the BTCC was established in 2007, where they claimed both the Independent Drivers and Teams Championships. They repeated the feat in 2008 and went on to take the overall BTCC Drivers’ title in 2009, and added a driver and team double crown in 2014.
Dick Bennetts, WSR Team Principal, remarked: “I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for 10 years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It is a tribute to BMW’s product and commitment, and we are delighted to once again represent the marque as they return with increased commitment as a Manufacturer in the BTCC.”
BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will have autonomous test vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017
Las Vegas, Jan. 4, 2017 – BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye today announced that a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous BMW vehicles will be on the roads by the second half of 2017, demonstrating the significant advancements made by the three companies towards fully autonomous driving. Revealing this at a podium discussion held during a joint press conference at CES, the companies further explained that the BMW 7 Series will employ cutting-edge Intel and Mobileye technologies during global trials starting in the U.S. and Europe.
This news follows the partnership that was announced between the BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye in July of last year. The companies have since developed a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other automotive developers and carmakers to pursue state of the art designs and create differentiated brands. The offerings scale from individual key integrated modules to a complete end-to-end solution providing a wide range of differentiated consumer experiences.
"Making autonomous driving a reality for our customers is the shared ambition behind our cooperation with Intel and Mobileye. This partnership has all of the skills and talent necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles. Therefore, we are already thinking in terms of scalability and welcome other companies – manufacturers, suppliers or technology companies – to participate and contribute to our autonomous platform. This year our fleet of vehicles will already test this joint technology globally under real traffic conditions. This is a significant step towards the introduction of the BMW iNEXT in 2021, which will be the BMW Group’s first fully autonomous vehicle,” stated Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development.
It was a tough day from the start in Argentina. After problems in practice meant little running, Félix da Costa could manage only 17th, with a time of 1:13.326 minutes, after an on-track incident. Frijns fared a little better, managing 13th best time – 1:10.172 minutes.
With their midfield starting positions, it was tough for the two Andretti cars to make progress. Mired in traffic in the first stint, the heat left little room for any clever strategy with energy efficiency. Both drivers pitted at the half distance mark, lap 19, and despite some penalties and drama, there wasn’t quite enough pace for points in Argentina. Félix da Costa enjoyed a late-race surge and improved to 11th, – six places higher than he started – but Frijns suffered towards the race’s conclusion and could manage only 14th. The team were pleased to see both cars finish the race despite a hot race in Buenos Aires. Sébastien Buemi (SUI) won the race, for the eDams Renault team.
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “This is a track that historically has been pretty good for me, having won here in the past and then last year running second until we had some problems. I was looking forward to this race, but today I made things a little harder on us with the crash in FP1 – sorry to the MS Amlin Andretti crew for that. We tried to come back from that, but then I made another mistake in qualifying and we had some small issues with the battery. We struggled today. I think sometimes we need bad days like this to do big steps forward. That’s what I’m hoping for going to Mexico.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “The day started OK. In the race, we were able to keep our position with the start, and then I tried to hold it while I saved as much energy as possible. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t follow the guys surrounding us, so it was a difficult race. We’re going to review things, but are looking ahead to Mexico City. We need to learn from this and hopefully we’ll get some good information to move forward.”
The BMW i Vehicle Fleet
For Season 3, BMW i remains the “Official Vehicle Partner” for the FIA Formula E Championship. The BMW i8 (fuel consumption combined: 2.1 l/100 km / 134.5 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 49 g/km) will continue as the high-performance, efficient Safety Car in Formula E. The same goes for the BMW i3 (energy consumption combined: 12.9 kWh; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km), which is the “Medical Car” and “Race Director Car” and for the BMW X5 xDrive40e (fuel consumption combined: 3.4–3.3 l/100 km / 83.1–85.6 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 78–77 g/km; figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tyre format specified), which functions as the “Rescue Car” or “Extrication Car”.
The next race for MS Amlin Andretti and BMW i will be the Mexico City ePrix on 1st April. The fourth race of the season will see the FIA Formula E teams take to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – part baseball stadium, part race track and home of Formula One’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Two BMW M6 GT3s from ROWE Racing competing in the Blancpain GT Series 2017 – BMW Team Teo Martín setting out on a mission to defend their title
Blancpain GT Series: ROWE Racing again represented by two BMW M6 GT3s.
In 2017, the ROWE Racing team will be competing with two BMW M6 GT3s once again in the Blancpain GT Series. There are ten race weekends in the season, covering the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. The highlight of the season is the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL), where the team emerged triumphant with the BMW M6 GT3 last year and celebrated its greatest success to date. The driver line-ups for the two BMW M6 GT3s are to be announced in the coming weeks. “Our big goal for 2017 is obviously to defend our title at the Spa 24 Hours,” said team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf. “It would be a dream come true for us to repeat last year’s win. We are still in the process of finalising the driver line-ups for our two BMW M6 GT3s, however, we are very confident that we will once again be able to field very fast and experienced teams of drivers, just as we did last year.” On 13th/14th March, the team will be taking part in pre-season tests for the Blancpain GT Series at Paul Ricard, in the south of France. The season starts on 1st April with the first race of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup in Misano (ITA). The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will take place on 29th/30th July. In addition to competing in the Blancpain GT Series, ROWE Racing will also be represented by both BMW M6 GT3s in the famous 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (GER), which will take place on 27th and 28th May.
International GT Open: BMW Team Teo Martín setting out on a mission to defend the title.
The BMW Team Teo Martin has started out on a mission to defend the International GT Open title. On Friday and Saturday, the Spanish team took part in the “Winter Series Test” for the race series at the Circuit de Catalunya (ESP), using the two days to prepare both BMW M6 GT3s for the 2017 season. The two cars were driven by Jesse Krohn (FIN), Marzio Basso (ESP), Rodolfo Gonzalez (ESP) and Victor Bouveng (SWE) at Barcelona. The team had already successfully completed some winter testing behind closed doors. The BMW Team Teo Martín is approaching the new season as reigning champions. The first races will take place on 29th and 30th April in Estoril (PRT).
Munich. Round three of the 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship season will take place in Buenos Aires (ARG). The two MS Amlin Andretti ATEC-002 will be driven in the Buenos Aires ePrix by BMW works driver António Félix da Costa (PRT) and Robin Frijns (NLD). This is the third consecutive season to feature the Argentinian capital, the only South American trip on the calendar.
After starting the season with a strong double points finish in Hong Kong – Félix da Costa in fifth place and Frijns in sixth – the MS Amlin Andretti drivers left Morocco empty-handed. Frijns finished just outside the points in 11th, while Félix da Costa was unable to finish. Both will aim to bounce back to the points in Argentina. For the Portuguese driver it is a particularly special venue – he scored his maiden FIA Formula E victory in Buenos Aires, in the 2014/15 season. It’s a location well known to the series, having appeared on every Formula E calendar to date, and presents major challenges – notably the heat.
MS Amlin Andretti races the ATEC-002 in Season 3, with Félix da Costa and Frijns in its two entries – Frijns in number 27 and Felix da Costa in number 28. BMW will provide expertise and support to the American team as it runs its own powertrain for the first time in Season 3, having run the standard Formula E technology in the first two seasons. Buenos Aires represents the third competitive outing for the fledgling manufacturer-team partnership.
Fans can vote to give their favourite driver a ‘FanBoost’ – an extra energy allocation, available in the second half of the race – online. The three drivers with the most votes receive an extra 100KJ of energy, which can boost power by up to 30KW. There are two methods: voting on fanboost.fiaformulae.com, or by using the hashtag #FanBoost, plus #AntonioFelixdaCosta or #RobinFrijns, on Twitter or Instagram.
António Félix da Costa, MS Amlin Andretti: “Buenos Aires has always been a really good venue for me. I won my first Formula E race there, and then last year I was in Super Pole and ran second before I had some bad luck. It’s going to be one of the hardest races of the year, because it’s really, really hot. Physically it’s hard, mentally it’s hard. You have to manage energy really carefully. It’s a critical factor in these conditions, and I’m in near-constant communication with the team every lap to stay on top of our targets. The track layout could really suit our powertrain, the opposite of the track in Marrakesh. If we reach our potential, we can look forward to some good points with both cars here. This is a great place for Formula E – it’s always an entertaining race, with full grandstands, and it’s a wonderful city. I’m looking forward to coming back. We’ve had a little break, and now a good run here could really set us in the right direction for the rest of the season.”
Robin Frijns, MS Amlin Andretti: “Buenos Aires is one of my favourite cities in the world and it is always nice to come here. The track has one of, if not the longest, straights of all the tracks on the Formula E calendar. This allows us to build up a lot of speed but also makes it very important to manage our battery levels so we have power on the straight. The track also has some very technical sections which are important for a good qualifying time. Temperature will be a limitation so we will have to see how the race will develop. As a team, I think we will be very strong this weekend and we are looking to score some points in the MS Amlin Andretti cars.”
The three drivers completed a total of 281 laps of the classic Mount Panorama Circuit. In an eventful race with countless incidents and safety car phases, the trio produced a flawless performance. Only a technical problem stood between them and a better result. After the start, car number 60 successfully battled it out at the front at Australia’s most popular GT endurance race. Wittmann was running fourth when he reported problems with the power steering for the first time. BMW Team SRM lost some ground – and laps – during the ensuing repair works. Nevertheless, the team put up a good fight, making it to the finish line in 14th place after 12 hours.
Daytona. The 19th BMW Art Car experienced an eventful race appearance at the Daytona 24 Hours, finishing eighth in the GTLM class. The opening round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) once again offered fans excitement right down to the final lap.
One of the highlights of the 24-hour race at the Daytona International Speedway was the BMW M6 GTLM Art Car, designed by American artist John Baldessari and driven by Bill Auberlen (USA), Alexander Sims (GBR), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Bruno Spengler (CAN). After 652 laps of racing, Farfus took the chequered flag at the wheel of the 19th member of the BMW Art Car Collection. The quartet of drivers, as well as team principal Bobby Rahal’s crew, delivered a focussed performance, despite difficult conditions with heavy rain and a total of 21 full-course yellows. GTLM victory went to the number 66 Ford.
The Baldessari car is only the third BMW Art Car in history to finish the 24-hour race it appeared in. The same feat was only achieved by Roy Lichtenstein’s BMW 320i in the 1977 Le Mans 24 Hours and the BMW M1 Art Car created by Andy Warhol at the same event in 1979. Prior to this year’s Rolex 24, the latest BMW Art Car appearance dated back to 2010, when the BMW M3 GT2 Art Car created by Jeff Koons was sent into action at Le Mans.
In contrast, the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona came to an early end for the number 24 BMW M6 GTLM. Only 14 laps into the race, first-stint driver John Edwards (USA) came to a stop at the pit lane entrance after suffering vibration at the rear of the car. BMW Team RLL tried to get the BMW M6 GTLM back out onto the track, and Edwards did actually rejoin briefly after a long break for repairs. However, he was then forced to retire permanently just one lap later due to persisting powertrain issues. Martin Tomczyk (GER), Kuno Wittmer (CAN) and Nick Catsburg (NLD) did not play a part in the race.
The Turner Motorsport team delivered a fighting performance in the GTD class: Jens Klingmann (GER), Jesse Krohn (FIN), Maxime Martin (BEL) and Justin Marks (USA) lost ground – and several laps – due to repair work on their yellow number 96 BMW M6 GT3 following a collision they got involved in on Saturday night. Afterwards, however, the team moved up the ranks again, eventually finishing eighth out of 27 GTD competitors. Victory in this category was secured by the number 28 Porsche.
Daytona. It was a difficult first qualifying session of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) for BMW Team RLL in Daytona (USA). In the 15-minute session at the classic ‘Daytona International Speedway’, Bill Auberlen (USA) qualified tenth for the 24-hour race at the wheel of the number 19 BMW M6 GTLM Art Car, designed by John Baldessari. The experienced BMW driver set a personal best time of 1:44.759.