F1’s Austrian return falls 50 years after first World Championship Austrian GP

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Here’s one for the anoraks ahead of F1’s return to Austria this weekend – the 2014 running of the Austrian Grand Prix marks 50 years since the first time F1 ran a round of the World Championship in the country.

Most remember the Austrian Grand Prix for the old Österreichring, which hosted the race from 1970 through 1987 with one circuit revision, the addition of a chicane ahead of the 1977 Grand Prix.

But the Austrian Grand Prix actually kicked off with two runnings on the Zeltwig Air Base, which provided a point-and-shoot 1.98-mile course with four corners (the track was shaped like a pistol, with open right-handed Turns 1 and 2, a 90-degree left-handed Turn 3, and a Turn 4 hairpin at the end of a long straight).

A non-championship race was held in 1963, won by the late Sir Jack Brabham.

But the first World Championship Austrian Grand Prix came a year later, on August 23, 1964. The late Lorenzo Bandini won for Ferrari, in what was the Italian driver’s only Grand Prix victory. American Richie Ginther was second driving for BMW, with Englishman Bob Anderson in third in a Brabham-Climax, for his first and only career podium.

Meanwhile a then unheralded Austrian, the late Jochen Rindt, made his debut driving a Brabham-BMW.

BMW confirms IMSA, WEC GTE line-ups for 2018

BMW Motorsport
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BMW has confirmed its driver line-ups for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship campaigns.

In an announcement made at its end-of-year Sports Trophy event on Friday night, BMW firmed up its roster across its factory WEC team and its customer RLL Racing IMSA squad.

Two of the 2018 BMW M8 GTEs will enter the WEC next year, joining a hotly-contested GTE-Pro class that already features Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin and Ford.

BMW factory drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk will share the two cars across the 13-month ‘super season’.

The quartet will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

In IMSA, the RLL Racing team will once again field Sims and John Edwards, who will be joined by the incoming Connor De Phillippi and Jesse Krohn.

BMW also confirmed on Friday night that Tom Blomqvist would see out the Formula E season with its Andretti-affiliated team, having been benched for Kamui Kobayashi in Hong Kong.