|Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Formula BMW Pacific has announced the names of its three scholarship winners for the 2009 season, each of whom will receive a 50,000 Euro cash contribution to their campaign in Asia’s premier entry-level series, plus participation in the powerful and proven Education & Coaching Programme, a vital component in the development of fledging motorsport talent. |
Increasingly international in appeal, with 31 drivers of 19 different nationalities competing last year, Formula BMW Pacific welcomes its first ever entry from Zimbabwe this season. Youngster Axcil Jefferies will make his single seater debut along with fellow Formula BMW Junior Steel Guiliana of Australia, 17. Joining the duo is Australian Chris Wootton, 20, who impressed last season by finishing second in the Rookie Cup.
Jefferies shares Zimbabwean and British nationality. Last year he finished seventh overall in the European Karting Championship, and is the current South Africa Rotax Junior Max Kart Champion. In 2007, Jefferies was the South African Rotax Mini-Max champion as well as the South Africa Northern Regions Rotax Mini-Max champion. Having competed in his first karting race at aged six, Jefferies first tested a Formula BMW in late 2007, and recently completed successful tests at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
Guiliana first began his karting career aged seven and in 2007, based himself in Europe where he consistently finished in the top ten and was vice-champion at the Austrian Masters. In 2006, Guiliana was the Italian Junior Rotax champion and runner-up in the European Junior Rotax Championship.
A Formula BMW Junior last season, Wootton was rewarded for his 2008 performance with a second scholarship having shown exceptional talent and professionalism during his series debut. He overcame several setbacks, not of his doing, in his debut season to reach the podium five times.
Jefferies and Guiliana were selected from a group of their peers, all of whom took part in the Formula BMW Scholarship trials in December in Malaysia. Each driver was thoroughly evaluated by a team of BMW Motorsport professionals to assess those with the greatest potential.
The depth of talent amongst this year’s hopefuls was very encouraging for the future, with the group containing a number of young racers who, although ineligible for a Scholarship due to age or previous experience, nevertheless demonstrated the enormous wealth of motorsport talent in Asia.
This year’s new Formula BMW Juniors now face a steep learning curve as they immerse themselves in what will be a truly competitive season of motorsport. By winning a scholarship, all three have demonstrated a determination to make their mark and further their careers - fast.
Formula BMW is the world’s leading entry-level series in formula racing. In 2009 the three Formula BMW series – Formula BMW Europe, Formula BMW Pacific and Formula BMW Americas – will be held in the key motor sport markets of Europe, pan-Asia and North and South America. Formula BMW will be regularly held on the undercard of Formula One. The series gives young racing talents the chance to enter professional motor sport in a safe racing car – the Formula BMW FB02.
The FB02 has been in use since season 2002. It is powered by a 140 hp BMW engine that takes it to a top speed of up to 230 km/h. It ranks among the safest vehicles in its category and exceeds the FIA safety regulations that govern this class of car. Innovations such as the FORS (Formula Rescue Seat) were developed by BMW Motorsport specifically for Formula BMW. Following Formula One, Formula BMW was the first single-seater series outside the US in which the HANS system was made mandatory.
Formula BMW drivers have the opportunity to take part in an Education and Coaching Programme that runs parallel with the racing season. The programme includes driver coaching at the races by professional race drivers, attending a Formula One test, fitness courses, tuition in driving technique and strategy, as well as seminars on sponsoring and sport management.
Among the 20 team drivers in this season’s Formula One, there are now five Formula BMW graduates: Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Sebastian Vettel, Sebastién Buemi and Timo Glock.