Being one of the chosen BMW Juniors, I was recently invited to visit the BMW Formula One factory in Hinwil, Switzerland.

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The chosen ones. BMW Juniors at the BMW F1 Factory
in Hinwil, Switzerland

"Being one of the chosen BMW Juniors, I was recently invited to visit the BMW Formula One factory in Hinwil, Switzerland.
We were given an extensive seminar on racing technique, aerodynamics and car set up by Mike Strottmann a former BMW touring car racer himself and other experts from the factory.
Extremely interesting was also the tour of the factory including the museum and the high tech wind tunnel, which is so important for the development of F1 aerodynamics.

F1 Engine secrets revealed by the expert

A Formula One car is actually not a car as most people perceive it: It is actually an airplane flown upside down. If you race through a tunnel you could actually drive along the ceiling and it would stick! The only problem is how to get it there without crashing at 300 km/h. The engineer who gave us the lesson on aerodynamics had been crazy enough to volunteer but management refused because of safety concerns.

Set up and driving technique lesson by BMW Touring
car driver Mike Strottmann

The wind tunnel is managed by the second most powerful computer in the world: Albert. It is really huge, something like 20 x 2 x2 meters, like computers used to be 50 years ago, but as powerful as they are today! Only NASA has a bigger one. It works 24/7 and calculates billions of ways every day how air could flow over the car in a way that it gives the right mix between downforce and drag or wind resistance. That's why the cars have little wings all over and look so alien. But next year there will be more restrictions and cars will look more similar again to give the teams a more level playing field and increase competition on the track instead of in the factory, which is better for spectators, since only few people have the opportunity to go inside an F1 factory. Even we were not allowed to go inside the actual tunnel. Top secret!"

Marlon Stockinger and Simon Moss checking out
Nick Heidtfeldt's Steering Wheel at the BMW F1
Factory in Hinwil, Switzerland

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Stockinger Top Formula BMW Rookie Finisher in Action Packed Races, you can also find him now on You Tube... the TV coverage from last week, clips from his early days in Karting...

Marlon Stockinger, sponsored by BMW and Swiss Private Bank Sarasin, put in a stellar performance last weekend at the Sepang International Grand Prix Circuit in Malaysia, where Asia Pacific’s Finest young racers gathered for a four-day race meeting. After struggling in the opening rounds of this year’s Formula BMW Pacific Championship during the recent F1 Grand Prix in Sepang, he is gaining confidence with each outing. “I made some smart overtaking moves and quick lap times. The team (Eurasia Motorsport) did an excellent job, the car felt great and it was really enjoyable. I think I am making progress. It helps build my morale and I can look towards the front of the field with confidence”, says Stockinger.

Photo © Composite - Gunther Deichmann

Some of the most intense action the series has seen so far this season unfolded in round 5 of the meeting where Stockinger was involved in a five-car fight behind the leading trio of Nara (Japan), Jamison (Hong Kong) and McDonagh (USA). When BMW Europe guest driver Manzur (UK) made a successful move on Stockinger, the battle of the race commenced with Manzur, Moh (Malaysia) and Wootton (Australia) locked in a furious chase. That allowed Stockinger and Chaves (Columbia) to close in on the trio and enter the fray. Moh was a casualty and ended up in the gravel after coming together with Manzur. Wootton was also caught up in the fray and eventually finished down the field in 10th.

Stockinger was the winner of the five-car fight, crossing the line in 4th, ahead of Manzur and Chaves.

In the last race of the weekend pole sitter McDonagh got away badly and team mate Nara grabbed the lead. Initially McDonagh stayed with Nara at the front, but Stockinger got by to go to 2nd from starting in 4th position by the end of the opening lap. Malaysia’s Arvin Roslan was running well in 4th, but had a big off on the second lap which brought out the safety car on the following lap. That bunched up the field, with Nara leading the pack followed by Stockinger.

Photo © Tom Stockinger

Nara was away well when the safety car pulled off with Stockinger skillfully slipping into his tow and pulling away from the rest of the field. However, the unshakable Nara took the flag to record a superb second victory, joined on the podium by the triumphant BMW Juniors Stockinger in 2nd and Wootton in 3rd place. Due to the great results for this weekend Stockinger advanced from 5th to 2nd place behind Simon Moss of South Africa in the rookie classification and from 12th to 5th place in the overall drivers classification for the 2008 championship.

“Do we see a win soon?”, asked commentator Jonathan Green the young gun in the post race interview. Answer: “Yes, we’re gonna go for it!” The statement was supported by the happy smiles of the all Filipino crew of mechanics and team principal Mark Goddard of Eurasia Motorsport.

Photo © Gunther Deichmann

The final race rounded out a superb weekend of competition, which saw a field made up of drivers from no fewer than six continents. The 2008 Formula BMW Pacific season continues in July, when the region’s finest young single seater racers will travel to Indonesia’s Sentul Circuit outside Jakarta. After that, Stockinger will join the European Formula BMW support races of the Formula One rounds in Hungary (Hungaro Ring), Spain (Valencia) and Belgium (Spa) as a guest racer, before competing in Formula BMW Pacific again during the historic first Singapore F1 night race in September.