Formula BMW is a junior racing formula for single seater cars. It is positioned at the bottom of the motorsport career ladder alongside the longer established Formula Ford category. Like Formula Ford, it is intended to function as the young kart racing graduate's first experience of car racing. The new formula was created by BMW Motorsport in 2001, with the first of its championships being inaugurated in Germany in 2002.
Formula BMW championships are held in the United States, Asia and Europe. Selected competitors from each series meet in the World Final at the end of each season, with the promise of a Formula One test for the winner. There is also a driver education program and scholarships available for a limited number of drivers.
Alan Dennis Kulwicki (December 14, 1954 – April 1, 1993), nicknamed "Special K" and the "Polish Prince", was an American NASCAR Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) racecar driver. He arrived at the highest and most expensive level of stock car racing in the United States with only a borrowed pickup truck, a race car, no sponsor, and a limited budget. Despite starting with meager equipment and finances, Kulwicki earned the 1986 NASCAR Rookie of the Year award and later won the 1992 Winston Cup championship by the then-closest margin in NASCAR history. Kulwicki was known for being a perfectionist and doing things his own way: his scientific approach to NASCAR racing inspired the way teams are currently run, and he was insistent in driving for his own race team during most of his NASCAR career despite lucrative offers from top car owners. His publicist indicated that Kulwicki was "a real hard type of person to get to know," and he remained a bachelor throughout his life. In 1998, five years after his death in a light aircraft accident, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers and he was inducted into the numerous halls of fame, including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. His signature move was the Polish Victory Lap, which he did only twice: after his first NASCAR victory and after his only NASCAR championship.
- "The first time I fired up a car, felt the engine shudder and the wheel come to life in my hands, I was hooked. It was a feeling I can't describe. I still get it every time I get into a race car." – Mario Andretti.
- "You do things, you f**k people, it's racing." – Niki Lauda.
- "It doesn't matter if you're in a wheelchair or have healthy legs. If you have the will to do something, you can get it done. I race the same as anyone else does; I just don't use my feet. And, I never give up." - Evan Evans, the first paraplegic competitor to win a professional off-road racing title.
Did you know...
- Formula racing refers to various forms of racing that use open wheeled single seaters, from Formula One to Formula Ford. Wherever there is motor racing, there will often be some form of formula racing. Some formulae use a single design of chassis and engine, while others allow a lot of technical freedom.
- Stock cars race primarily on oval circuits and are very popular in the United States, where the major championships are run by NASCAR. The cars are built to very strict regulations with "silhouette" body shells that resemble production road car models. Major events include the Daytona 500.
- Touring cars fall into two main categories of machinery based on production road cars. Some classes – such as the World Touring Car Championship – are heavily production-based with limited modifications, while others – like the DTM – use racing chassis and components with bodywork that mimics the equivalent road cars.
- Sports car racing is synonymous with endurance racing, in which two or more drivers share each car during the course of a long race. Races in a series typically last around three to four hours, but there are many one-off events that can last for 12 or even 24 hours or cover a set distance such as 1000km. There are two distinct types of sports cars that often share events (each type being divided into classes). Sports prototypes have mid-engined chassis that are fully enclosed in aerodynamically efficient bodywork. Their cockpits can be open or enclosed in a canopy. Sports prototypes are most closely associated with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and notable examples include the Audi R10 and Porsche 962. GT cars (grand tourers) are production-based sports cars that may be mid-, rear- or front-engined. Notable examples include the Viper GTS-R, the 911 GT2 and the Maserati MC12.
- Kart racing is the first step on the career ladder for most young aspiring drivers. They are constructed with a small, flat chassis, small wheels, a single seat and almost no bodywork. They are powered by small two-stroke engines. Most karting formulae permit entrants as young as seven or eight years old, who will hope to graduate into entry-level single-seater formula racing in their late teens.
- Rallying takes place on closed roads of asphalt, gravel, mud, or snow. The vehicles are usually modified road cars or production-derived, often with 4WD. Events comprise a series of point-to-point time trials in which competitors begin each timed "stage" at intervals. The highest level is the World Rally Championship; notable events include the Dakar Rally.
- Drifting is a relatively recent form of motorsport that originated in Japan. Competitors have to induce a controlled rear-wheel slide during their competition runs and are judged according to a number of criteria. Depending on the nature of the competition, the drivers may perform on track individually or compete together in a form of "race".
- Drag racing is a performance contest between two competitors in similar or identical machinery on a straight dragstrip measuring from 660-1320 ft (201-402 m) in length, on which they accelerate from a standing start. The leading category is Top Fuel, whose engines run on an alcohol-based mixture to produce over 8,000 bhp (6,000 kW). They can cover 1000 ft (305 m) in under 4 seconds with a peak speed exceeding 320 mph (515 kph).