After the season is before the season. In September, BMW concluded the debut year of its new education concept for talented young racing drivers – the Formula BMW Talent Cup. And already it is heading full throttle towards season 2012. Several test drives in Spain, Germany and Britain have been ticked off, and the first highlight is lined up for 21 and 22 November: at the shootout in Valencia (E), one driver will qualify for a full season in the Formula BMW Talent Cup 2012 financed by BMW to the tune of 100,000 euros. For two whole days the participants – none of whom have had any previous formula driving experience – must prove on and next to the track that they have what it takes to become a true racing driver.
The large number of applications reflects the popularity of this new concept as the ideal springboard into formula sport. A total of 28 drivers will be vying for victory in Spain in the hope of earning the “free ride” offered by BMW. “Interest is huge and we could not have accommodated any more drivers. I can’t wait to see how these young talents acquit themselves and look forward to an international field,” says BMW works driver and Formula BMW Talent Cup chief instructor Dirk Adorf. Drivers from 13 countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Austria, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey) have signed up. The only girl on the grid is 16-year-old Isabella Lauer from Bad Füssing. Those who fail to hit the jackpot in the shootout still have the option of signing up for the Formula BMW Talent Cup in the usual way.
In the Formula BMW Talent Cup a total of 15 drivers are systematically introduced to the requirements and challenges of professional motor racing. Driver coaches and race engineers take charge of small groups of drivers and take them through everything from individual driving style to complete vehicle set-up.
The training concept underpinning the Formula BMW Talent Cup relies on the competence of recognised experts. Specialist coaches instruct the drivers about fitness and nutrition, but beyond the physical side the mental aspect of motor sport is also playing an ever greater role: cue for a mental coach who teaches strategies for handling stressful situations on and beside the race track. Dealing with the media is likewise growing in importance, which means the drivers have to learn to handle professional media content as well as how to behave in front of a radio mike or a TV camera. All communications are based on English, the international lingua franca of motor sport. The global nature of the Formula BMW Talent Cup is reflected in the event calendar for the young racers, who travel to circuits across Europe.