BMW confirms season five Formula E works role with Andretti team

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Just as Audi formally confirmed its works status within the FIA Formula E Championship last week and will take over the name of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport from season four of the electric open-wheel championship, BMW has now done the same on Tuesday morning to confirm its works status and name takeover of the MS Amlin Andretti operation.

BMW and Andretti have enjoyed a technical partnership and by season five of the series, set for 2018-2019, BMW will build an all new powertrain as the works entry into the championship.

JF Thormann, Andretti executive vice president, told my colleague Luke Smith at the Hong Kong season opener in October 2016 the partnership was a “match made in heaven.”

BMW confirmed it would be a works entry in the fifth season back in April, but didn’t specify its team partnership, although it was anticipated it would continue with Michael Andretti’s Andretti Autosport operation.

“Through our involvement in Formula E, we are addressing the development towards sustainable and emission-free mobility in the automobile industry and are also making a contribution to the brand’s progression to BMW iNEXT,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

“This project is thoroughly driven by technology. We are using Formula E as a development laboratory, operating under the unique conditions that prevail in motor racing – with very unique demands and opportunities.

“The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project. The result is a technology transfer on a whole new level. We are certainly confident that the BMW Group will benefit greatly from the experience gained in the field of electrotechnology during this project.”

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director, added, “The series represents a completely new challenge for us – a challenge we are happy to take on together with Andretti Formula E. Andretti is the ideal partner for this mission. The name needs no introduction in international motor racing. Our cooperation is already working very well, and we look forward to taking the next steps together.”

Michael Andretti said, “We are excited to expand our partnership with BMW i and serve as BMW’s official Formula E works team beginning in Season 5. The ongoing collaboration between BMW and Andretti Formula E has provided a strong foundation for BMW’s entry as an official manufacturer. We look forward to running BMW’s first all-electric racing drivetrain and competing for the Formula E Championship. BMW is leading the automotive future with the BMW i line and their innovation in electric car technology. I couldn’t pick a more prestigious or historic manufacturer to work with in Formula E.”

The Qualcomm New York City ePrix runs this weekend, where the pair of MS Amlin Andretti entries driven by Robin Frijns and Antonio Felix da Costa look to get back in the points after a tough weekend in Berlin.

Andretti Autosport’s four-car IndyCar team runs the Honda Indy Toronto (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, CNBC) this weekend.