BMW Motorsport presented its 2019 racing program at its annual motorsport gathering in Munich on December 7. For the most part there will be continuity in driver lineups across the series that BMW contests. There is one new driver in IMSA; Tom Blomqvist will join BMW Team RLL in the M8 GTE. Also, BMW is entering an additional series; Walkenhorst Motorsport, one of BMW’s top customer teams, will contest the SRO Motorsports Group’s Intercontinental GT Challenge. There is a new car in one series and a new engine in another; the Generation 2 Formula E car makes its debut on December 15 as the series’ Season 5 begins in Saudi Arabia, and in DTM the M4 DTM will run with a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The driver and team lineups announced in Munich were as follows.
In DTM, five drivers will return to race the M4 DTM; they are Philipp Eng. Joel Eriksson, Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler, and Marco Wittmann. A sixth driver will replace Augusto Farfus, who, as announced earlier, will focus on GT racing for BMW in 2019. The sixth driver will be announced following a “Young Driver Test” that takes place next week.
In the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, Connor De Phillippi, John Edwards, and Jesse Krohn will return to Team RLL. Tom Blomqvist will join the team for the entire season, replacing Alexander Sims, who is moving to Formula E. Alex Zanardi will join the team at Daytona, driving a car specially equipped with hand controls, as reported earlier. Also on board for the series’ longer enduros will be Philipp Eng, Colton Herta, and Chaz Mostert.
In the all-electric Formula E series, with BMW and Andretti now combined into the BMW i Andretti team, António Félix da Costa and Alexander Sims will drive the new BMW iFE.18. The season begins in December in Saudi Arabia and ends in July, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York.
The World Endurance Championship, now on a long mid-season break, will resume at the series’ 1000 Miles of Sebring in March, with Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus, António Félix da Costa, and Martin Tomczyk in the BMW Team MTEK M8 GTEs.
Walkenhorst Motorsport, the BMW customer team that won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2018, will contest the Intercontinental GT Challenge in 2019 in an M6 GT3. There are plans to add a second car run by another team, with Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk among the drivers. The team and additional drivers will be named later. The series includes races on five continents over the course of the year; they are the Twelve Hours of Bathurst in Australia in February, the California Eight Hours at Laguna Seca in the USA in March, the 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium in July, the Suzuka Ten Hours in Japan in August, and the Kyalami Nine Hours in South Africa in November.
BMW customer teams, including Rowe Racing, Walkenhorst Motorsports, and Falken Motorsports will contest the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. BMW will also contest the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.
Along with the M6 GT3, BMW’s customer racing efforts will focus on the M4 GT4 and the M240i Racing, upgraded from the M235i Racing. —Brian Morgan