• Nov 27, 2009

BMW 320si WTCC, BMW-Sauber F1.07 and Formula BMW FB02 – Click above for high-res image gallery

What would BMW be without racing? We could be about to find out if recent developments are any indication. The Bavarian automaker competed in F1, the World Touring Car Championship and various sportscar series, while running its own Formula BMW feeder series that has helped breed such talents as Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel. The automaker announced its withdrawal from Formula One at the end of this year, and reports now indicate that they'll be severely curtailing their participation in the World Touring Car Championship as well.

BMW mounted a concerted comeback effort in the WTCC this year, only to narrowly lose out again to SEAT. Whether the decision is directly related to the upset or not is unclear, but reports out of Europe say that BMW will be reducing the number of its cars in the championship next year from five to two. That means eliminating the national teams system it had in place, consolidating and putting its WTCC-spec 320si in the hands of Team Schnitzer (the erstwhile BMW Team Germany), which gains triple champion Andy Priaulx from BMW Team UK to partner with multiple race winner Augusto Farfus. Two-time CART champion and double amputee Alex Zanardi, who was racing for BMW Team Italy-Spain, is moving to the Superstars Series. (Touring car fans should also note that SEAT's 2008 champion Yvan Muller is moving to Chevrolet to replace the retiring former F1 driver Nicola Larini.)

What remains to be seen is whether BMW will continue cutting its racing activities in other series as well, or if they'll have cut enough expenditures from their F1 and WTCC programs to let its sportscar programs and Formula BMW survive the cutbacks.



[Source: OmniAuto.it]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Racing improves the breed.

      Wull, so long as the next 3 series is the best sports sedan of all time, it don't really matter. Also, BMW's powertrain development is now done in its motorcycle division.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Concur. Moreover, BMW should exit F1. Waste of money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I understand their pull from F1. It's an expensive venture that very few car companies stick with for the long haul (Ferrari and....?). But WTCC? Really? Unless they're planning an attack on DTM, I feel BMW is losing its roots in motorsports just as some companies like Toyota are regaining theirs. Problem is, unlike Toyota who has other priorities to focus on, BMW is a company known for racing, like Porsche. And just how Porsche has a very strong racing program to keep their roots grounded, their fans happy and their products true, BMW should ensure theirs doesn't become an ad campaign to make an obscure connection of "racing heritage" to their X's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They are moving all their race money to the X6 to compete in demolition derbys all across America this summer. Check your local fairgrounds for details.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Finally, a good use for the X6. I wonder if they'll accept a Panamera with a lift kit, and a few Cayennes for good measure?
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about Letterman-Rahal in ALMS? Any news?
      • 5 Years Ago
      What about BMW's Dakar efforts?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pardon the uncaught typo. I meant Horch rather than Horge as the premium auto maker long deceased.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey BMW, heres an idea to save money - stop making stupid "sporty" SUV hybrids.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Too true.
        But i suppose running away from lost championships with their tail between their legs by hopping into their sporty SUV's is far less damaging to the companies image
        • 5 Years Ago
        RUSirious? That's where all their profits are! LOL!
        They're not dumb...those SUVs are what keeps Porsche going and wildly profitable.
        All those soccer mommies just get wet that they're driving a 'Porsche' when they couldn't keep a widowmaker 930 going straight down the road on a bet.
        • 5 Years Ago
        no, that's not where bmw's profits are. bmw isn't Porsche. just because the Cayenne is profitable and saved Porsche doesn't mean BMW has seen the same return. In fact, their current financial situation and rapid abandoning of motorsport would confirm the contrary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Formula BMW that was formed in 2002 then? Schumacher did F3 didnt he?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Schumacher started in carts, moved on to Formula Ford and Formula Konig, then signed with manager Willi Weber's F3 team. Weber convinced him to join the Mercedes junior driver development program, competing in WSC and placing 5th at LeMans. Then he moved up to F1. At no time was he ever connected with BMW.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why race? Old tagline: Ultimate Driving Machine. New one: Baby Boomer's Caddy.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Those SUVs may be stupid but they do things like, oh I don't know, keep BMW in business. They said they'd never do an M-SUV but times change and if that funds the continuation of their racing programs and other more "pure" M-cars, so be it. Let the poseurs fund the company for us purists.
    • Load More Comments