BMW Motorsport presents race program for 2018 season

BMW Motorsport has set its course for the 2018 season. At the traditional Season Review event in Munich (GER), BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt (GER) presented the extensive program, as well as the drivers and teams involved.

Next year’s activities range from the return to Le Mans (FRA) in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) with the new BMW M8 GTE, to the works program in the DTM and preparations for entering the FIA Formula E Championship with a works team in Season 5.

The updated BMW M6 GT3 will also be in action in GT classics at the Nürburgring (GER) and in Bathurst (AUS), to name but a few. The new BMW M4 GT4 will contest its first season in the hands of private BMW drivers around the world. 2018 will also see BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) commence his preparations for the 24 Hours of Daytona (USA) the following year.

“As of 2018, the strategical realignment of motorsport under the roof of the BMW Group will become operational,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of BMW AG, Development. “Our goal is to be successful and capable of winning with BMW M and BMW i. Motorsport will take on the function of an innovation and high-performance hub. I am looking forward to the coming year. Alongside DTM we will tackle exciting new challenges such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the new BMW M8 GTE and our first Formula E race at the end of the year.”

DTM: Philipp Eng and Joel Eriksson join the BMW squad.
In 2018, BMW Motorsport will go into its seventh season since returning to the DTM in 2012 with six BMW M4 DTM cars and two teams. Like last year, BMW Team RMG and BMW Team RBM will both run three cars. Two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann (GER), Timo Glock (GER) and Augusto Farfus (BRA) will continue to drive for Stefan Reinhold’s (GER) RMG team. BMW Team RBM welcomes two new faces into the fold. 2012 champion Bruno Spengler (CAN) is joined by BMW works driver Philipp Eng (AUT) and former BMW Motorsport Junior Joel Eriksson (SWE), who will both be making their DTM debuts.

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt: “Continuity and experience are very important in the DTM. At the same time, we also wanted to provide some new impetus in 2018. I would like to thank Maxime Martin for the super cooperation and all the success they have achieved in recent years. He has taken on a new challenge outside of BMW Motorsport. Tom Blomqvist makes the switch to Formula E. Philipp Eng and Joel Eriksson have made it into the DTM squad on the back of strong performances last year, and having made a very good impression at the Young Driver Test. I am confident that they will also do well in the BMW M4 DTM. After Marco’s victory at the 2017 season finale, we carry plenty of momentum into our preparations for the new season.”

Joel Eriksson: “When I joined BMW, it was always my goal to make it to the top, to make it to the DTM. It’s fantastic that I have achieved this. I am really looking forward to working with BMW Team RBM. As I’ve come from Formula 3 the handling of the BMW M4 DTM is not that unfamiliar to me. I think I will get used to it quickly.”

Philipp Eng: “I still can’t quite believe that I really will be a BMW DTM driver in 2018. The DTM has always been with me, because I was competing in the supporting series for a long time and have often been on site for BMW over the past two years. My dream has always been to drive a DTM car. This dream came true with my test in the BMW M4 DTM and it’s incredible that now I am being given a regular drive. I first experienced single-seater racing in Formula BMW in 2006. Now I have made it to one of BMW Motorsport’s top programmes. No doubt it will be a big challenge for me, but as they say: you grow with your tasks.”

FIA WEC: Stage set for the new BMW M8 GTE.
After intense preparations, BMW Team MTEK and team principal Ernest Knoors (NED) will field two new BMW M8 GTE cars when BMW Motorsport makes its debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). The regular drivers for the complete season will be Nick Catsburg (NED), Augusto Farfus, António Félix da Costa (POR) and Martin Tomczyk (GER). Over the course of the season, they will be supported at individual races by BMW works drivers Tom Blomqvist (GBR), Philipp Eng and Alexander Sims (GBR).

Jens Marquardt says: “The drivers in our WEC squad have been intensely involved in the development work on the BMW M8 GTE from the outset. The combination of GT experience and race talent means we are ideally positioned to achieve good results in our first season in uncharted territory. After the intense months spent developing the car, everyone at BMW Motorsport is extremely motivated ahead of the first races in 2018.”

IMSA: American-European teamwork.
The new BMW M8 GTE will also be in action in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) in 2018. In the hands of BMW Team RLL and team principal Bobby Rahal (USA), the new car will make its race debut on the final weekend in January, at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Americans Connor De Phillippi and John Edwards will contest the entire season at the wheel of the two cars. De Phillippi is a newcomer to the BMW Motorsport family. The two regular European drivers are Alexander Sims and former BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn (FIN). New BMW NA Brand Ambassador Bill Auberlen (USA), Nick Catsburg, Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus will also drive for the team in endurance races.

Jens Marquardt says: “The commitment in North America remains a central pillar of the BMW Motorsport racing programme in 2018. Our partnership with BMW Team RLL is entering its tenth year. To mark the anniversary, Bobby Rahal’s team will race with two new BMW M8 GTEs. In Connor De Phillippi, we have brought another absolute GT specialist into the team. I am also pleased to see our former BMW Motorsport Junior Jesse Krohn promoted to the works programme. At this point, I would like to once again express my respect for Bill Auberlen. No other driver has been as closely associated with BMW as he has. 400 races for one manufacturer – that is unique. It is nice to have him on board at the big races again in 2018.”

FIA Formula E Championship: Building for the future.
Season 4 of the FIA Formula E Championship is in full swing, having begun two weeks ago in Hong Kong (CHN). For BMW, the collaboration with the MS&AD Andretti Formula E Team, and its owner Michael Andretti (USA), will intensify over the coming season. In Season 5 BMW will enter the series with a works team. António Félix da Costa is the regular driver for Season 4. As of race three in Marrakech (MAR) in January, Andretti has named BMW works driver Tom Blomqvist for the seat in the second car. He switches from the DTM to the Formula E series. Alexander Sims will be the official reserve driver for the team.

Jens Marquardt says: “For us, Formula E is the ideal platform for the mobility of the future, and the perfect test laboratory for the BMW iNEXT. In no other programme is the transfer of technology between motor racing and production as intense as in Formula E. In close collaboration with the MS&AD Andretti team, our engineers and drivers are being integrated to gain stronger awareness and understanding as we near Season 5. We are pleased to have two of our drivers in action as of the race in Marrakech, in the form of Tom Blomqvist and António Félix da Costa. We are confident that Tom will be competitive alongside António.”

Further GT races: The BMW M6 GT3 returns with the Evo package.
The endurance classic at the Nürburgring (GER) will once again be the highlight of the European GT series for BMW in 2018. BMW Motorsport will compete with the updated BMW M6 GT3. ROWE Racing and Falken Motorsports are set to run the BMW M6 GT3 with Evo package on the Nordschleife. BMW Team Schnitzer and BMW Team SRM will both field one BMW M6 GT3 at the 12h Bathurst (AUS) in February. Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert (AUS) and Marco Wittmann will drive for BMW Team Schnitzer. Team principal Steve Richards (NZL), Philipp Eng and Timo Glock will be at the wheel for BMW Team SRM. Timo Scheider (GER) will also form part of the BMW GT driver line-up again in 2018, contesting races in the ADAC GT Masters.

Jens Marquardt says: “We will once again be prominently represented at selected GT classics with works-assisted customer teams – primarily ROWE Racing – in 2018. After finishing runner-up this year, we obviously have a score to settle with the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. We also want to play a major role in Bathurst. With that in mind, we will strengthen the teams with BMW works drivers and support them with engineers.”

Road to Daytona: New racing project for Alessandro Zanardi.
For BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi, the 2018 season will primarily be about preparing for one special race: in 2019, the BMW works driver will make a spectacular return to North American motorsport at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he will drive the BMW M8 GTE. Details will be announced at a later date. Over the course of the season, Zanardi and the BMW Motorsport engineers will work on a new brake system, which will allow him to race without his artificial limbs.

Jens Marquardt says: “I am delighted that we will be working with Alessandro Zanardi on this new project in 2018. It was his great desire to return to North America for another big race. We are only too happy to make that possible. The fans at Daytona can look forward to a real highlight with Alex and the BMW M8 GTE in 2019.”

Customer Racing: Private teams race with the BMW M4 GT4.
The GT4 class is currently experiencing a boom – and BMW Motorsport is recognising this development in 2018 with the new BMW M4 GT4. Following intense test work, the customer racing car will make its debut in the hands of private BMW teams around the world. The BMW M4 GT4 will be in action in a host of different international racing series. The first highlight will be the 24 Hours of Dubai (UAE) on the second weekend in January. The updated BMW M6 GT3 will also do battle for race wins and titles in high-quality GT racing series all over the world. The BMW M235i Racing remains an established element of the BMW Motorsport customer racing programme and will be in action in the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, within the BMW M235i Racing Cup, in the North American Pirelli World Challenge and in many other series. BMW Motorsport will support customer teams around the world with well-known drivers like Jens Klingmann (GER), Markus Palttala (FIN) and Stef Dusseldorp (NED).

Jens Marquardt says: “Customer racing has been part of the BMW Motorsport’s DNA for almost 60 years. With the new BMW M4 GT4 and the Evo package for the BMW M6 GT3, we are confident that we are able to offer our private teams fantastic cars, with which they can continue to successfully represent the BMW brand as ambassadors around the world. Furthermore, the tried-and-tested BMW M235i Racing is the perfect entry-level model. The commitment shown by our private drivers and teams around the world cannot be overestimated.”

BMW Motorsport Junior programme: Focus on continuity.
BMW Motorsport will continue its long tradition of promoting talented youngsters in 2018. Following the promotion of Joel Eriksson to the DTM, Ricky Collard (GBR), Mikkel Jensen (DEN), Dennis Marschall (GER), Nico Menzel (GER) and Beitske Visser (NED) will be part of the programme next year. They will compete in races in the BMW M6 GT3 and the BMW M4 GT4. Tests in the BMW M4 DTM and the BMW M8 GTE are also planned. Fitness and mental training also remain key elements of the Juniors’ training.

Jens Marquardt says: “The promotion of talented youngsters is a tradition stretching back 40 years at BMW. I am particularly pleased that two Juniors have made the step up into our works programme at the end of the anniversary year in 2017, in the form of Joel Eriksson and Jesse Krohn. That proves how successful our programme is. We are looking forward to continuing to support and accompany our talented youngsters on their career paths.”

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Now that winter is here, invest in the proper winter tires

We’ve said it time and time again and we’ll continue to do so as long as we have the platform to: Winter tires are important for winter driving. It’s something that I think a lot of enthusiasts overlook, thinking they know better. I was one of those people, running Dunlop summer tires on my E36 all year round and it was not a smart idea. I would skid and slide about like every other idiot on YouTube caught crashing in the snow. I learned my lesson after one winter. Now that winter is here again and the snow has begun to fall in both the mid-west and the east coast of the US, we’re going to again talk to you about the importance of winter tires.

When I owned a BMW, any time I told someone that didn’t know a lot about cars that I owned a BMW, they’d always say the same thing — “Aren’t the bad in the winter?”. The answer is no, they aren’t bad in the winter, so long as you have the proper tires, something Americans gravely overlook. Most BMW’s are rear-wheel drive-based, despite most of them being xDrive all-wheel drive now, and rear-wheel drive vehicles need the proper tires to handle snow.

 

In many climates, winter months bring about snow, freezing temperatures and slippery road conditions. Summer tires and even all-season tires struggle in these sorts of conditions. That’s because their rubber compounds and tread patterns are simply not designed to handle such conditions and temperatures. Most customers just buy their cars with all-season tires on them without ever swapping those tires for anything else. So they drive in the winter with regular all-seasons and when the temperatures drop below freezing, they struggle.

Many people also assume that their all-wheel drive vehicles are immune to winter conditions. However, all-wheel drive really doesn’t mean anything without the proper tires. All-wheel drive only helps by adding a bit of extra traction but that doesn’t aid in braking or turning, two things that are sort of important in, ya know, driving. Plus, four driven wheels means nothing if they don’t have traction. A dog in ice skates is slower than a human in ice cleats.

While expensive, it’s good to invest in a separate set of winter tires to put on your car for the winter, regardless of drivetrain. Use your all-season or summer tires three seasons out of the year, that’s fine. But once winter comes, switch over to winter rubber. Two brands we’d recommend for such tires are Nokian and Michelin, both of which make excellent winter tires. Obviously, there are more brands that make great winter tires, but those are our favorite two.

Winter driving can be a lot of fun, especially in a performance car that can do snowy slides on command, but it’s downright dangerous in the wrong tires. Make the investment, get some winter rubber for your car and you’ll be happier and safer for it.

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Five Irish survive cut at Alps Tour Q-School

La Cala Resort

La Cala Resort

Five of Ireland’s six remaining hopefuls made the 36-hole cut at the Final Stage of the Alps Tour Qualifying School in Spain.

While Simon Bryan was disqualified for using a range-finder on the first hole on day one and Sean Denny added an 80 to his opening 84 to miss the cut by 16 strokes, Michael Dallat and Justin Brink lead the Irish contingent on two-under par.

They are tied for eighth spot in the race for 35 cards at La Cala Resort near Malaga, six shots behind South Africa’s Albert Venter, who shot 70 on the Asia Course to lead by two shots from France’s Paul Bariteau and England’s Jack Singh Brar.

Seventy-five players made the five-over par cut with the top 35 on two-over or better.

Hilton Templepatrick amateur Dallat shot a level par 72 on the Asia Course as Switzerland-based Brink carded a level par 71 on the America Course.

Naas’ Conor O’Rourke is tied for 17th on level par after making four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey five in his 72 on the Asia Course while Mount Juliet’s Stephen Grant is a shot further back in joint 23rd after a carding four birdies and six bogeys in a 74 at the same venue.

David Carey made the cut on the mark after a rollercoaster, one-over-par 73 — a trademark round for his this season.

The Dubliner made seven birdies, two bogeys, a double bogey and a quadruple bogey nine at the 16th on the Asia Course to share 65th on five-over.

The field will play the final round on the Asia Course on Saturday with the top 35 earning full cards (Category 6) and the remainder Category 8 membership.

By making it to the final stage, Denny is eligible for membership in Category 9.

Alps Tour Qualifying School, La Cala Resort (Asia/America Courses)

Detailed scores

Qualifiers

1 Albert VENTER RSA -8 65 70 135
T8 Michael DALLAT (Am) IRL -2 69 72 141
T8 Justin BRINK IRL -2 70 71 141
T17 Conor O’ROURKE IRL  Par 71 72 143
T23 Stephen GRANT IRL  +1 70 74
T65 David CAREY IRL +5 75 73 148

Non-qualifiers

138 Sean DENNY IRL +21 84 80 164
DQ Simon BRYAN IRL DQ

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VIDEO: BMW X3 M40i POV Autobahn run

The BMW X3 M40i is probably my favorite modern Bimmer. Having recently spent a week with it, I’m totally smitten. It combines fun, comfort, performance and practicality like no other modern BMW I’ve ever driven. It also feels like a bit of a return to form for the brand, as the steering, suspension tuning and handling felt reminiscent of the sort BMW used to make back in the generation of the E46 and E39. I wasn’t ready for how much I was going to like the X3 M40i but what surprised me ever more was its performance.

Powered by a variant of BMW’s new B58 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine, the BMW X3 M40i makes 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. That punchy motor is paired with a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic and powers all four wheels. When all combined, the X3 M40i can get from 0-60 mph in about 4.6 seconds. That’s quick for what will likely be used as a soccer-mom SUV. But it feels a lot faster than that, likely because it’s being done in a small-ish crossover.

In this new video from AutoTopNL, we take a look at what it’s like to blitz the Autobahn in the X3 M40i. As it rockets off the line onto the famous German highway, it gathers speed in a manner that a small SUV simply shouldn’t. It’s seriously quick and it’s not just to 60 mph. Even, after 100 mph, it just keeps pulling. It eventually hits its top speed of 260 km/h (161 mph), which is really impressive in a small SUV.

What’s more impressive is how fast it hits that top speed. It’s not long after merging onto the Autobahn that it’s blitzing at 260 km/h. In a car with a decent back seat and a large trunk. It just reinforces my love for the BMW X3 M40i. If I could afford one, I’d be at the dealer signing papers instead of typing…

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Someone buy this E46 BMW 330i ZHP so I can’t

Almost every BMW enthusiast will unanimously agree that the E46-generation 3 Series is the best 3er of all time. It strikes the perfect balance of handling dynamics, performance and comfort. Of all the sport sedans in history, the E46 3 Series might be the closest to perfection. So perfect, in fact, that when Cadillac was developing the ATS, it benchmarked the E46. It really makes a statement when a rival company is benchmarking your decade-old car for its newest sport sedan. The best version of the E46 sedan, though, is the BMW 330i ZHP and this one that’s currently up for sale on Bring-A-Trailer is tempting.

The ZHP package for the E46 330i made what was already a superb sport sedan about as close to perfection as possible. New cams for the 3.0 liter naturally-aspirated I6 engine brought power up to 235 hp. Now that’s not much more than the standard car’s power, but the hotter cams brought the redline up and allowed it to rev faster. It also got a six-speed manual gearbox, rather than a five-speed and new suspension. The latter bit is the most important, though, as it made the 330i handle even more sweetly than it already did.

On top of that, it also got some new wheels, new body work and some new interior bits, including an alcantara steering wheel and shift boot, that make it look fantastic. Personally, I feel that the E46 is the best looking 3 Series of all time and the ZHP is the best looking version.

Now, it’s not perfect, admittedly. There are a couple of scuffs and scratches on the exterior and the rear bumper, where it meats the wheel arch, is a bit beat up. It also has 135,000 miles on the clock. However, it seems to be in overall good condition and is said to be completely mechanically sound. Plus, those minor issues are cheap and easy to fix.

At the time of writing this, this specific E46 BMW 330i ZHP is at $4,000, with the bid ending in 4 days. It’s likely to go up and I sort of hope it goes up out of my price range so I’m not so damned tempted. Bid, folks, bid. Save me from myself.

[Source: Bring-A-Trailer]

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BMW surprises 5-year-old fan with an experience of a lifetime

Meet the 5-tear-old Paul who, despite his young age, is already a BMW fan. His hobby is to count all the cars of the brand he meets in his everyday life and is also dedicated to making a BMW commercial in front of his friends and acquaintances.

A few months ago, with her mother’s help, he wrote a letter to Munich headquarters and BMW decided to respond properly and to reward him for the enthusiasm and effort. Todor Todorov, another BMW fan, worked with BMW to surprise Paul with an experience he won’t soon forget.

The little BMW fan not only received a toy gift from BMW, but he was also taken aboard BMW’s most futuristic car to the date – the BMW i8 – for a spin around town. The smile on his face says it all!

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BMW Determined to Claim Number One Spot in China

The title of the world’s largest car market no longer belongs to the US. China’s booming economy managed to translate into considerably higher living standards for its citizens and, since it has over 1 billion of them, it was only natural that in terms of volume, the sales figures would overtake the United States at some point. Therefore, the battle between the top luxury brands moved in Asia as well and now, the most important item on the ‘to-do’ list of BMW seems to be claiming the crown of the luxury segment in China.

According to a new report from Automotive News Europe, BMW is currently in the lead, as it has been benefiting from double-digit increases in sales on a monthly basis. Over the course of November, the sales of BMW models went up by 12 percent to a total of 55,293 vehicles in China. In terms of percentages, Mercedes-Benz’s growth was even more impressive at 22 percent but in terms of volume, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer is still lagging behind with 50,813.

Audi sold even more cars than BMW last month in China but the four-ringed brand is lagging behind its rival because of poor results scored throughout the year since January as it had a bit of an issue with with its dealerships across the country. Speaking of year-to-date numbers, BMW managed to deliver 542,362 units so far, an increase of 15 percent compared to 2016. Conflict-striken Audi is down 2.8 percent so far with 528,706 units while Mercedes-Benz went up by 27 percent so far with 539,728 units delivered.

Therefore, there’s less than 3,000 cars in between the top two luxury brands and things are definitely heating up. BMW has recently announced talks with Great Wall Motors regarding opening a new joint-venture production facility in China, in order to keep up with the demand and therefore with the competition as well. Furthermore, the Bavarian brand is now rolling out a car-sharing program in Chengdu using the BMW i3 which could prove to be a winner in the long run, as the EV will be an important model coming 2019, when regulations for internal combustion engine cars with tighten even more.

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