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      04-13-2014, 11:28 AM   #1
dyansamuel
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BMW Formula Training Experience at Shanghai F1 Circuit

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This was a training program I took last November in Shanghai F1 International Circuit. BMW brought a fleet of BMW Formula cars and team from Germany to throw a week's training for customers, mostly die-hard bimmer owners.

The BMW formula car, FB02, features a monocoque chassis, a 140-hp BMW motorcycle engine and a 6-speed sequential gear box. Power to weight ratio is 1hp:3.5kg (M3's is 1:4). 0-100kmh 3.5 seconds. Maximum speed 230kmh. It weighs just 440 kgs. With slick tyres, it corners like hell. At many corners where M3 has to slow down to avoid understeer, FB02 can soar through them with full throttle.

The day FB02 arrived at the circuit. It came in a special loader than can fit 4 cars in a container.

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Started to come in shape

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Shock absorbers and fishbones at the front

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This is what the cockpit looks like. Simple. Not as fancy as the F1 but the layout is basically the same. No paddle shifter. The sequential shifter is rock hard. You really have to hammer it. The brake paddle is also hard since there is no force assistance. The seat is just a thin sheet of carbon fibre and Kevlar so foams are needed to fit different body sizes and shapes. Drivers actually lie, not sit, in the cockpit.

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The rear suspension, gear box and engine

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This angle shows clearly the carbon fibre monocoque

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The tiny screen on the steering wheel shows a lot of data. In the picture is a lap time. M3's best time (stock, no mods) on Shanghai F1 Circuit was 2'32" by a racing driver. FB02's best is around 2'15". My time is 2'29", which means I am faster than a racing driver in M3.

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Suit up and gear up. FIA approved racing suits, helmets, gloves and shoes are a must. BMW provides everything. BWM even sent two German ladies all the way along just to manage the wardrobe.

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Mechanics were preparing the cars. The battery on board is tiny so every time the car starts, a handheld battery is plugged in the provide power. The battery on board can sustain only one start. If it spins in the track, the driver has only one chance to start the engine again.

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Ready to roll out.

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      04-13-2014, 12:02 PM   #2
Kyle B
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HS, I am incredibly envious of you! That looks like an amazing opportunity. Nice pics, thanks for sharing.
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      04-14-2014, 03:40 AM   #3
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Wow I'd love to have had that chance. Glad you had a good time and great write up.
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      04-14-2014, 12:40 PM   #4
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      04-14-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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If the circus would only come the US...it's shame they cut the Formula BMW USA series...it was a good stepping stone for young drivers transitioning from kart to open wheel, with a relatively low buy in. Enjoyed my brief sponsorship of Jonathan Summerton in the series. Glad to see HAAS into F1...a lot of work cut out for less than a year...
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      04-16-2014, 09:55 PM   #6
JButtonMCL
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How do you sign up or apply for this? :O

And the cost of it?
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      04-20-2014, 03:42 PM   #7
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Wow so cool.
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      04-20-2014, 08:51 PM   #8
dyansamuel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JButtonMCL View Post
How do you sign up or apply for this? :O

And the cost of it?
BMW released all training events on its regional websites. Formula training programs are only available in Germany, Spain and China, as far as I know. If you want to sign up for these non-US programs, you have to follow those regional BMW websites.
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      04-20-2014, 08:55 PM   #9
dyansamuel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JButtonMCL View Post
How do you sign up or apply for this? :O

And the cost of it?
The cost of this event in China was approximately US 11K for two days. Participants are not liable for any damages. No deductibles.
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      04-28-2014, 07:54 AM   #10
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Wow that is awesome. Thanks for sharing.
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      04-28-2014, 08:16 AM   #11
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That's awesome.
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      04-28-2014, 08:20 AM   #12
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Never heard of this before, what a great experience (esp at an F1 track!) What limits did they put on you - passing, speed, etc.?

This would be fantastic to so in conjunction with ED if you could get the times to line up.
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      04-28-2014, 08:37 AM   #13
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      04-28-2014, 08:52 AM   #14
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Congrats on what looked like an awesome time! I've driven formula fords but they had the three pedal H pattern setup. I'm sure it was quite the experience to drive something that responds so quickly to your inputs. Thanks for sharing with us!


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      04-28-2014, 09:20 AM   #15
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WOW - Great track also!
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      04-28-2014, 12:13 PM   #16
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nice im sure it was a blast
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      04-28-2014, 01:04 PM   #17
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So cool! How much would it cost to buy one?
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      04-28-2014, 01:11 PM   #18
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pretty awesome experience! i just want to drive on that track regardless of the car!
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      04-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #19
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wow what a experience! so jealous!
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      04-28-2014, 03:25 PM   #20
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Those just look absolutely nasty
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      04-28-2014, 03:38 PM   #21
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Racing around in open wheel cars is an experience any motorsport enthusiast should experience. I did schooling in Formula Renault 1600, and I'd love to do Formula Ford series (they changed the name now, though).

http://www.allenbergracingschools.com/programs/formula/
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      04-28-2014, 04:25 PM   #22
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A great way to move up in the ranks of open wheel racing. Formula BMW and Formula Peugeot are two great stepping stones. Some big guys started in Formula BMW. Nico Rosberg. Sebastian Vettel... Cheap operating costs.. low entry costs...
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