BMW has confirmed that it will join Formula E as an official works manufacturer from Season five. The German company recently showcased its first Formula E race car, the iFE.18. The car was seen testing at the BMW and Mini Driving Academy near Munich, Germany.
The iFE.18 is the first full-electric racing car built by the BMW group and will be part of the Formula E test to be held in Calafat, Spain between 17th - 19th April 2018. BMW missed out its first opportunity for the Formula E test held at MonteBlanco last month after an ‘unexpected malfunction' during the final preparations.
BMW has supplied their i8 and i3 cars to Formula E since its inaugural season. The BMW i8 and i3 have been performing the role of the safety car and medical car respectively, since the start.
The BMW will join Formula E as a Works manufacturer in collaboration with Andretti Racing, with whom they currently have a technical contract.
BMW said that the drivetrain of their new racing car, is 55 percent lighter, 66 percent more compact, 100 percent more on performance and reaches revs 400 percent higher than the powertrain used on their road-going i3.
The season five Gen2, BMW iFE.18, will make its first debut at the Berlin race held next month, driven by 2016 Formula 1 World Champion, Nico Rosberg. The former F1 World Champion also revealed recently that, since the time he retired from F1, he has been very interested in e-mobility, which lead him to become one of the investors in Formula E Racing.
Speaking on the occasion, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: "The BMW iFE.18 is a milestone for our company. After months of excellent collaboration between the engineers from production and racing development, we can all now see the result in action."
"This Formula E project has seen the most remarkable technology transfer between production and motorsport in the history of BMW. Everyone involved has breathed life into the 'TechLab for BMW i' motto from the word go. I can hardly wait to see the car racing for the first time in the BMW i Motorsport colours when Season 5 gets going."
He further added, "Formula E has developed fantastically as a racing series and, as a new, technology-based project, is perfectly suited to the BMW Group and BMW Motorsport."
"Forging new paths and driving innovation - these are values shared by BMW and Formula E. Because it is very important for us to demonstrate our technological expertise, we have shown a firm commitment to this project through the registration of BMW AG as an official manufacturer and are facing up to the growing competition there. "
On the collaboration with Andretti Formula E, he said, "In Formula E, we will demonstrate both our innovative expertise and our sporting spirit. 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."
Thoughts On BMW Entering Formula E Racing
The entry of the BMW works team into Formula E racing, showcases the increasing popularity of the sport, while also showcasing the shift in focus of car manufacturers towards e-mobility.
Apart from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche have also shown their interest in joining Formula E, starting their campaign from the 2019-20 season onwards.