Racing News

BMW has confirmed that it will enter the all-electric Formula E championship as a manufacturer in the series’ season five, which begins in the fall of 2018.

BMW is currently partnering with the Amlin Andretti team; BMW factory driver António Félix da Costa drives for Amlin Andretti in the series. Beginning in season five BMW will provide an all-new drivetrain that will be run by the Andretti team as BMW’s works entry in the series.

BMW had said in the past that it wanted to wait until the series’ practice of changing cars on pit stops was eliminated; the same cars will be used throughout the race in season five.

Since season one BMW has supplied official cars for the series, including the i8 safety car, i3 medical and race director cars, and the X5 xDrive40e rescue/extrication car.

BMW’s release on its entry in the series explains Formula E's strategic value for the company. The release says: “The main driving force behind the new BMW i Motorsport is the development of innovative technology in the field of electromobility, in which the company has established a leading role over the past ten years. The consistent implementation of the new motor racing strategy also includes the expansion of classic activities at BMW M Motorsport.

“The Formula E project is already providing valuable impetus in the development of BMW iNEXT and the next generation of advanced BMW i models with electric drive. The same engineers that are working on the future of electromobility for the streets also take on an environment that is fully focused on performance alongside their colleagues from BMW Motorsport – an environment, in which they face strong opposition. The experience gained is integrated directly in production development again, in the development of the next BMW i models.”

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt notes: “Formula E has developed fantastically as a racing series and, as a new, technology-based project, is perfectly suited to the BMW Group and BMW Motorsport. Forging new paths and driving innovation – these are values shared by BMW and Formula E. Because it is very important for us to demonstrate our technological expertise, we have shown a firm commitment to this project through the registration of BMW AG as an official manufacturer and are facing up to the growing competition there. The changes we required for our involvement will come into effect in Season 5 – these include, for example, the omission of the car changeover. We are already seeing in our development work that colleagues from the production and motorsport departments are collaborating in a completely new way. The result is new paths, which we are forging together in the matter of electric drivetrains. In Formula E, we will demonstrate both our innovative expertise and our sporting spirit. The series represents a completely new challenge for us – a challenge we are happy to take on together with Andretti Formula E. Andretti is the ideal partner for this mission. The name needs no introduction in international motor racing. Our cooperation is already working very well, and we look forward to taking the next steps together.”

The current season of Formula E continues with races on the streets of Brooklyn, NY, on July 15 and 16 and concludes in Montreal on July 29 and 30. More information on the series is available on the Formula E website.—Brian S. Morgan