Formula BMW Americas - Preview - Rounds 7, 8 and 9
Formula BMW America drivers will be among the first to compete on the newly revised Lime Rock Park racetrack when they arrive for the Northeast Grand Prix and Rounds 7, 8 and 9 of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship on July 11-12.
The classic 1.53-mile, 7-turn Lime Rock Park circuit has been repaved and the Uphill and West Bend corners have been modified so that the new track measures 1.51-miles, now incorporating 10 turns.
Learning a new track is one of the skills Formula BMW Americas drivers must develop, but Lime Rock Park will offer a challenge no Formula BMW Americas driver has ever seen. For the first time, there will be three Rounds on one weekend. In this case, from the time they first take to the track on Friday morning to the end of Round 9 Saturday afternoon, the clock will have shown that only 27 hours have passed.
The young drivers must manage their composure and equipment in every session as the penalty for a mistake can be costly. The fastest lap in the single qualifying session will set the grid for Round 7 and the second fastest lap will lineup Round 9. The Round 8 grid will be set by a driver's finishing position in Round 7.
American Alexander Rossi (Eurointernational) has won the last three races, including a clean sweep at Mid-Ohio, and leads the Driver Championship over teammate Ricardo Favoretto. Brazilian Favoretto, a BMW Junior, won Round 3 and was runner-up to Rossi in both races at Mid-Ohio. Both have experience at Lime Rock from last season. Canadian BMW Junior Gianmarco Raimondo (Autotecnica), with wins in Rounds 1 and 2 and a second in Round 3, stands third and leads the Rookie Championship.
Brazilian Giancarlo Vilarinho (Eurointernational) has charged to second in Rookie points following two podium finishes in the last three Rounds. BMW Junior Alexandre Ruiz (Apex-HBR Racing Team), also from Brazil, is third. Practice is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Friday, with qualifying set for 1:35 p.m. Round 7 will start at 5:15 p.m. On Saturday, Round 8 will start at 9:10 a.m. and Round 9 at 12:20 p.m.
Overall points standings following Round 6: Rossi (91), Favoretto (67), Raimondo (63), Vilarinho (48), Pelletier (46), Ruiz (44), Goncalvez (44), Grenier (37), Jovanovic (20), Ostella (13). Rookie points: Raimondo (63), Vilarinho (48), Ruiz (44), Grenier (37), Jovanovic (20), Ostella (13) Team Points: Eurointernational (179), Apex-HBR Racing Team (116), Autotecnica (62), Jensen Motorsport (20)