New BMW line-up for the sixth season

18.03.2010: The FIA World Touring Car Championship is entering the next round. Twenty two sprints will see the teams and drivers do battle for the coveted touring car crown for the sixth time since 2005. BMW Motorsport is lining up in

The FIA World Touring Car Championship is entering the next round. Twenty two sprints will see the teams and drivers do battle for the coveted touring car crown for the sixth time since 2005. BMW Motorsport is lining up in a new formation: BMW Team RBM, under the leadership of Team Principal Bart Mampaey (BE) is sending two BMW 320si WTCC cars into battle as the only works-supported BMW team this season.

RBM will contest an entire season with two cars for the first time. With BMW works driver Andy Priaulx (GB) at the wheel, Mampaey’s team won the Drivers’ Championship three times between 2005 and 2007, and also played a major role in BMW emerging victorious in the Manufacturers’ Championship in each of these three years. Next to Priaulx works driver Augusto Farfus (BR) lines up for the Mechelen-based squad. Farfus spent the last three years racing for BMW Team Germany and has an impressive 15 race victories in the World Touring Car Championship to his name – more than any other driver.

“I am convinced that we will challenge for the title with this line-up,” says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “Since 2005, RBM has proven more than once that it is one of the very top teams in the World Touring Car Championship. Three World Championship titles are impressive evidence of the strength of this team. In Andy Priaulx and Augusto Farfus we have the most successful driving duo in terms of individual race victories.

On top of this, we also have a number of private drivers competing behind the wheel of the BMW 320si WTCC. As a result, BMW once again boasts a powerful contingent in the sixth season of the World Touring Car Championship since 2005.”

In the history of the World Touring Car Championship to date, BMW has four Drivers’ and three Manufacturers’ Championships under its belt. BMW driver Roberto Ravaglia won the very first World Championship back in 1987. The Italian claimed the title in a BMW M3. In 2004 – under the leadership of Mampaey – Priaulx first won the European Touring Car Championship before going on to win three back-to-back titles in the World Touring Car Championship from 2005. BMW also ended these seasons at the top of the Manufacturers’ Championship.

“2010 will be a very exciting season for our RBM team,” says Mampaey. “BMW has entrusted us with spearheading the brand’s contingent in the World Touring Car Championship. We have won the title three times for BMW. Now we will be doing everything in our power to achieve this for a fourth time – and we are armed with two cars and two excellent drivers for the first time. However, the competition will be strong again this year. We will have to concentrate hard right from the start, and cannot afford to make even the smallest mistake.”

Strong drivers, strong car.

Priaulx and Farfus have made a lasting impression on the World Touring Car Championship in the past. A hat-trick of titles in the first three years of the World Touring Car Championship was impressive evidence of Priaulx’s ability. The racing driver from the Channel Island of Guernsey is renowned for speed, determination and an extremely low quota of errors. As a result, no other driver has finished as many races in the points (79) or scored as many World Championship points (431) as Priaulx.

None of this has reduced the triple world champion’s hunger for success. He says: “My goal is to get the very best out of myself in every race. I hope this will be enough to put me in a position where I can set my sights on the target again in 2010. As a team we are excellently prepared. However, the same can be said of the opposition. As is the case every year, there are once again many candidates who will be up there challenging. It will definitely be exciting.”

Despite still being relatively young for a touring car ace, Farfus has also established himself among the very best drivers in the World Championship. Last year he became the first driver in the history of the WTCC to win six races in a season. With a total of 15 race victories to his name, the Brazilian leads this statistic ahead of team-mate Priaulx, who has picked up 12 wins. In 2009 Farfus travelled to the finale in Macau (CN) as the only BMW driver still with a chance of winning the title.

He is aiming to be in the same position going into the final two races of this season at the “Guia Circuit” on 21st November – but is hoping for a different outcome. “I have come close a few times,” says Farfus. “Of course I am determined to end this season at the very top. But predictions don’t help very much in our close championship. We must simply give our best weekend by weekend and make the very most of our opportunities. When we manage this, then we should be up there challenging in the top group.”
The BMW Team RBM drivers are not the only ones aiming to be noticed in the World Touring Car Championship. Numerous privateers will once again be competing in the BMW 320si WTCC, which BMW Motorsport offers as a racing kit for customer racing teams around the world. In 2010 the hard-fought Independents’ Trophy boasts a prize purse of over 500,000 Euros.

Customer racing has always been an important pillar in BMW’s motorsport programme. As well as the BMW 320si WTCC, of which more than 60 have already been supplied, BMW Motorsport Distribution also offers the BMW M3 GT2, BMW M3 GT4 and – new in 2010 – BMW Z4 GT3 models as racing kits.
Two debutants and one comeback.

Varied and challenging: The World Touring Car Championship race calendar has been taking drivers to some of the most attractive circuits in the world since 2005. This season sees two new circuits added to the programme: Zolder (BE) and Portimão (PT). On top of this, Monza (IT) returns to the race calendar.

The WTCC stopped in at Spa-Francorchamps (BE) during its first season in 2005, and Belgium now returns to the World Championship programme with the “Circuit Zolder”. The visit to Zolder represents a home event for Bart Mampaey’s squad: the circuit is situated just one hour by car from the RBM headquarters in Mechelen (BE).
Priaulx and Farfus have contested six World Championship races on Portuguese soil to date, but never at Portimão. The modern race track follows Estoril (PT) and Porto (PT), which hosted the WTCC between 2007 and 2009. Back in 2006, Monza was the scene of the first victory in the BMW 320si WTCC for Priaulx. The “Autodromo Nazionale” rejoins the calendar in place of Imola (IT) after a one-year break.

Having bid farewell to Pau (FR) and Porto, Marrakech (MA) and Macau are the only street circuits awaiting the drivers. The legendary “Guia Circuit” provides the venue for the final race weekend of the season for the sixth time. With further events in Curitiba (BR) and Okayama (JP), the WTCC once again offers an attractive overseas programme, while European fans can also enjoy plenty of action in Brands Hatch (GB), Brno (CZ), Oschersleben (DE) and Valencia (ES).

- Ingo Lehnbrink -


18.03.2010 / MaP

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