After dipping its toe in the FIA Formula E Championship waters in a technical partnership with MS Amlin Andretti, BMW has confirmed it will be a full works entry from the series’ fifth season of 2018-2019, as part of BMW’s overall motorsport program.
The German manufacturer will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018 with a new GTE entry and will then see this program come online later in the same year. BMW AG was confirmed a little more than a week ago as one of nine homologated manufacturers for the fifth season of Formula E, when the series is expected to make its largest technological gains, yet.
“Since its inaugural season, Formula E has enjoyed rapid development and is now regarded as a high-level racing series,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt.
“BMW i has contributed actively as Official Vehicle Partner from the word go and has left its mark on the series. Other manufacturers have now followed suit.
“Everyone involved is delighted to be taking steps to get involved on the sporting and technological side of Formula E. Planning is underway to compete with a works team in season five. This required our registration as a manufacturer. This was completed by the required deadline.”
As noted, BMW i has been involved with Formula E since the series’ inception as the Official Vehicle Partner. In September last year, it formally confirmed its technical partnership with Andretti Autosport.
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: