The lightweight camper concept and virtual experience were designed by Designworks to showcase a new fabric innovation from The North Face called FUTURELIGHT™, which uses Nanospinning technology to create the world’s most advanced, breathable, waterproof material.
“We combined both physical and digital worlds to showcase this material, ensuring the holistic vision of the brand was clearly communicated, while giving people a real ‘hands-on’ experience,” said Laura Robin, Designworks LA Studio Director. “Thinking about extreme performance in new and unexpected ways from our experience of working across multiple industries, helped us to provide consumers with a unique and never before seen insight into the very heart of the material and its key attributes.”
The FUTURELIGHT camper was inspired by the 2008 BMW GINA Light Visionary Model concept car. Like the GINA Concept, the FUTURELIGHT™ Camper is made of a fabric outer shell, consisting of a flexible material stretched over an iconic geodesic dome to demonstrate the potential uses of FUTURELIGHT™ fabric beyond just apparel.
The revolutionary Nanospinning process used to create FUTURELIGHT™, has allowed the The North Face designers to add air permeability into the membrane of a fabric for the first time. The process creates nano-sized holes, allowing for incredible porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness, letting air move through the material and provide more venting than ever before.
The FUTURELIGHT™ Camper, is on display during the global consumer electronics tradeshow, by invite-only Jan. 7 – Jan. 11 in Las Vegas. FUTURELIGHT™ will first become available to consumers in The North Face Fall 2019 product line and will be featured across the brand’s pinnacle performance collections.
BMW PRESS CLUB
An overview of BMW’s in-house developments for the BMW iFE.18:
Rear-end structure and rear suspension.
As well as the drivetrain, the rear-end and the rear suspension are the two areas where the BMW i Motorsport engineers had the greatest leeway for their own developments. While the chassis, battery and tyres are standard Formula E parts, in order to keep a lid on costs, the engineers at BMW i Motorsport designed the rear axle, including suspension and shock absorbers, themselves and integrated the drivetrain in the rear part of the car. As each drivetrain has its own individual properties, each team is responsible for integrating the drivetrain into the rear-end structure of the cars and finding a cooling set-up that suits these properties.
The team can configure typical set-up parameters on the chassis of the BMW iFE.18, such as spring rates, anti-roll bars, ride height, toe and camber. The chassis set-up plays an important role in achieving maximum mechanical grip on the tarmac surfaces of the street circuits, some of which are very uneven compared to permanent racetracks. It is also important that both the chassis and the rear-end structure are robust enough to cope with driving over aggressive kerbs and light contact with the barriers on the street circuits used in Formula E.
The so-called Generative Design process was used when developing various components. This made it possible to directly derive the design of the components from the load cases, with the assistance of computers, to incorporate the experience and expertise of the BMW i Motorsport engineers, and then to produce the components from aluminium using a 3D printing procedure. In the case of other components, this combination of know-how and technology has made it possible to very efficiently integrate various functions, such as in the cooling circuits, in very few parts.
The many years of experience possessed by BMW i Motorsport engineers in the development and production of fibre-reinforced plastics really came into its own in the design of the rear-end structure. The structure is not only very light, but a wide range of functions have also been integrated directly into the structure. The crash load requirements of the sporting authorities were also met in full and without any problems at the first attempt.
The topic of sustainability also plays a major role in the development of the BMW iFE.18. BMW i Motorsport engineers are working very closely with their colleagues in production to increasingly integrate renewable resources in suitable components.
Another major in-house BMW development is the electronic, brake-by-wire braking system. The introduction of this system represents a big technological step for Formula E and, in this regard, takes it to the same level as Formula 1 and the LMP1 category in the FIA World Endurance Championship. As of Season 5, brake-by-wire controls the relationship between mechanical braking force, when the driver pushes the brake pedal, and the braking effect generated by energy harvested during deceleration and braking. When the motor recovers energy from the braking process during the race, it basically functions as an additional brake on the rear axle of the car. Previously, drivers had to manually adjust the brake balance to balance the additional braking effect. The electronics on the BMW iFE.18 now perform this balance.
The integration of the brake-by-wire system and, above all, the software logic developed by the BMW i Motorsport engineers, significantly increases the regeneration potential – the maximum amount of energy that can be fed back into the battery when braking. Finding the best possible configuration of this software is crucial to be able to contest the entire race distance with maximum power from the battery, whilst complying with the amount of energy permitted by the regulations. In practice, overcoming this challenge requires the engineers to achieve the best possible relationship between speed and energy management. Their task is to calculate a race time optimisation with the limited amount of energy. It is important to keep sight of all the race action – to read the data and to anticipate what may be coming – to then decide, together with the driver, in which phases of the race it is better to save energy and when to attack, to make up positions or open a gap to the cars behind.
An overview of standard parts and in-house BMW developments on the BMW iFE.18:
For over 25 years now, the BMW Individual Manufaktur customisation facility in Garching near Munich has been producing exceptionally high-quality equipment features, extraordinary special-edition models and spectacular one-offs – all sporting a highly distinctive design and further enriched by the world’s finest, most precious materials. And the bespoke styling specialists have now opened up a new dimension in exclusivity by looking beyond our planet and bringing the night sky into the car. In the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky (fuel consumption combined: 9.8 – 9.7 l/100 km [28.8 – 29.1 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 224 – 221 g/km), applications made from meteoritic material grace selected controls. Human fascination with the infinite vastness of the universe is also mirrored in the illuminated constellations of stars on the centre console and in the surface design of the luxury sports car’s trim finishers, seat backrests, brake discs and exterior add-on parts, which draws inspiration from celestial bodies.
The BMW Individual M850i Night Sky will be presented in the run-up to an exceptionally intense meteor shower expected to take place overnight from 3 – 4 January 2019. The show of shooting stars will begin when the Earth briefly passes through the orbit of the asteroid 2003 EH, during which time fragments from the asteroid will enter our planet’s atmosphere and burn up. On rare occasions, smaller rocks in space penetrate our planet’s protective shield and fall to Earth as meteorites. Some of these extra-terrestrial fragments have now been incorporated into the cabin of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky.
By employing materials that are literally out of this world, BMW Individual Manufaktur has succeeded in giving the car unique and highly original aesthetic appeal and, in the process, pushed back the boundaries once again of what can be achieved when designing a car interior. The meteoritic rock adorns the whole of the centre console’s trim plate, the start/stop button for the V8 engine, the selector lever for the eight-speed Steptronic transmission and the Touch Controller for the iDrive system, creating a visual and tactile effect unparalleled in the automotive sector. Inlays made from meteorite material have also been incorporated into the door sill finishers, together with an illuminated model badge. All of which ensures the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky embodies luxury and exclusivity at an unprecedented level.
BMW Individual Manufaktur: birthplace of one-off specimens with a character of their own.
The BMW Individual Manufaktur customisation facility has always specialised in the production of one-off creations that lend expression to BMW drivers’ personal sense of style. Its mission is to turn individual customer requests into reality. The specialists from BMW Individual work together with the customer to produce bespoke solutions that range from extraordinary exterior paint finishes to exotic materials for the interior, special equipment features, accessories, stitching patterns, engravings and inlays. During the design and manufacturing process, creativity, attention to detail, craftsmanship, an uncompromising commitment to quality and a flair for the exceptional merge together to create truly unique cars.
In its quest for new creative possibilities, new combinations of materials and new processing techniques, BMW Individual frequently collaborates with big design names and famous luxury firms from other sectors. Input from artists and scientists helps to build the know-how needed to develop new products and exclusive one-offs. In designing the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky, BMW Individual called on the expertise of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, which is also located in Garching.
One of a kind: Widmanstätten-patterned surfaces.
Expanding on the use of meteoritic material for the controls inside the sports car, the design of many other interior and exterior elements takes its cues from a structure that only occurs in natural form on extra-terrestrial objects: the distinctive Widmanstätten surface pattern of meteorites. The strictly geometric structure, with its straight lines, has the appearance of ice crystals and becomes visible when certain types of iron meteorite are polished or brought into contact with acidic compounds. The structure is the result of the metal alloy cooling down in an extremely slow process that cannot be reproduced on Earth, making it an unmistakable signature of extra-terrestrial material. The unique pattern was first observed back in the early 19th century by a number of people, including the Austrian scientist Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten, after whom it is named.
The singularity of the Widmanstätten structure is symbolic of BMW Individual’s ongoing pursuit of innovative design solutions never seen before. Visible in the hand-stitched headliner and on the centre console’s trim finishers, it has also been milled into the brake discs of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky. This distinctive meteorite pattern can also be found on the exterior mirror caps, the front splitters for the side air intakes at the front of the car, the centre mesh plate and the surrounds for the Air Breathers on the front side panels. These exterior components were all specially developed for the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky and individually manufactured using a 3D printing process.
The result of motor sport and manufacturing know-how: innovative, ultralight brake callipers with bionic design, made using 3D printing methods.
The same innovative additive manufacturing process is employed for making the brake callipers. Here, 3D printing techniques take intelligent lightweight design to a new level. The aluminium brake callipers with bionic design fitted on the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky were developed by BMW Motorsport and are up to 30 per cent lighter than components produced using conventional methods. The substantial reduction in unsprung mass produces a noticeable improvement in driving dynamics and ride comfort.
The BMW Group harnessed both its motor sport know-how and its expertise in the application of 3D printing for aluminium components to help it develop and manufacture the pioneering, bionic-design brakes. When creating the brake callipers, it was possible to reduce their mass to the minimum required to meet technical requirements, meaning that only the material needed for the brakes to work is used. The resulting form, whose construction mimics that of bones – with an optimum balance between component rigidity and weight – can only be produced using an additive manufacturing method and not with conventional casting techniques. What is more, it was possible to incorporate the brake fluid channels into the structure of the brake callipers. Additive manufacturing was again key to producing this integral design, which has additional benefits for the installation and rigidity of the lightweight braking system.
Innovations for individuality: leather trim in tri-colour design and LED-illuminated star constellations on the centre console.
BMW Individual fine-grain Merino leather trim in tri-colour design and the Opal White/Midnight Blue/Silver colour scheme constitute another first for interior styling. The Widmanstätten structure – a defining feature of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky interior – is repeated in the stitching pattern for the seat centre sections.
The centre console armrests add another touch of brilliance, their special design inspired by the glittering heavens at night. LED units are used to illuminate their surfaces, producing the effect of a star-studded sky and giving the luxury sports car’s cabin a richly atmospheric feel. Deep-pile carpeting in Midnight Blue puts the finishing touches to the stylish interior ambience.
The exterior paintwork of the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky adds to its captivating aura. The BMW Individual special paint finish deftly combines two colour tones to achieve a high-impact effect. Black non-metallic was used as the base colour for the body. A second coat in San Marino Blue metallic was then painted over it in a graduated effect from the bottom edge of the body up to the top of the wheel arches. Finally, three layers of clear coat with varying pigment particle sizes were applied to give the paint finish a remarkable sense of depth.
The perfect platform for a mesmerising one-off: the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe luxury sports car.
The new BMW M850i xDrive Coupe provided the ideal basis for this sensational one-off model from BMW Individual Manufaktur. With its 390 kW/530 hp V8 engine, track-tuned chassis technology and BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, the four-seater brings a new brand of sporting flair, emotional appeal and hallmark BMW driving pleasure to the luxury segment. Developed alongside both the BMW M8 and the BMW M8 GTE endurance racing car, the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe is built around a flawlessly honed overall concept that translates into captivating performance on the road. Sophisticated chassis systems enable the coupe to cover an exceptionally broad spectrum between sportiness and comfort, complementing the car’s dynamic prowess with outstanding everyday usability and long-distance capability.
The BMW M850i xDrive Coupe’s emotionally engaging body design is a product of the brand’s new design language, which conveys sporting appeal, sensual allure and exclusiveness through a core focus on precision and clarity. Like the optional carbon-fibre roof, a selection of special details elsewhere on the car serve to optimise its aerodynamic properties and lower its weight. Together with its low centre of gravity, long wheelbase and wide tracks, this helps the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe to blend sports performance and luxurious ride comfort more cohesively than any other car in its segment.
MONTH IN REVIEW
Hello, and welcome to 2019! We hope you're not all feeling too worse for wear after celebrating New Years last night. We also hope you had a fantastic Christmas and are ready to launch into 2019!
But first, let's recap the last month of our 2018.
December began with a multi-club weekend away with BMW Drivers Club NSW and BMW Car Club Canberra. The 35+ who attended had a fantastic weekend away with some really enjoyable drives. Read more about our weekend here.
We then had a handful of members attend Phillip Island for the last round of our Drivers' Championship. Unfortunately with Phillip Island being such a popular track, not all who wanted to attend were able to register. For those that did get to attend, it was a beautiful sunny day down at the Island.
With many being unable to enter the sprint day at Phillip Island, we held a Coffee, Cake & Cars morning at Cooee Cafe in Capel Sound. It was fantastic to see so many of you and your families and many different cars. Read more about the morning here.
We finished our club year with our Christmas Members Meeting at Waverley BMW. We had a fantastic night where we were treated to a tour of the showroom and the workshop. We also gave away a number of door prizes to some lucky members who attended. Read more about our night here.
MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: 290 MEMBERS
Welcome to all our new members, we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!
Don't forget to catch up with our December update from our President, Graeme Bell here.
THE MONTH AHEAD
2019 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
We've also got some driver training and come and try days planned for 2019. We'll have some more information available on those shortly, with one already organised for 30 June at Sandown.
BMW CLUBS AUSTRALIA NATIONALS
NEWS | BLOG
BMW CLASSIC NEWSLETTER
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Wow! Christmas is done already! Where did 2018 go?
Who would have thought this time last year what 2018 would bring? Here we are on the cusp of 2019 and we are very close to hitting 300 members! I just can’t express how proud I am of our little club and how much it has grown in such a short time. Thank you all for coming on board and supporting us to give you what you want, to make this the best car club we can, for you.
We had our final club meeting for the year at Waverley BMW in December, thank you to the Staff there for looking after us and showing us around the dealership, what an amazing place! Keep an eye on the 2019 calendar, as we will do another meeting there to have a closer look at the drive-in-drive-out repair system and the wheel repairs they can do in house. It was great catching up with the members that came along and won a few prizes too. Remember, always bring your membership card to go in the barrel for a prize at all of our meetings.
The first weekend of December was our first interstate inter-club event, with members from BMW Drivers Club NSW, BMW Car Club Canberra and our own BMWDCM members, all meeting in Albury for a two-day run through the high country on fantastic driving roads, up and down the mountains. It was a great weekend away and one we will definitely do again next year! It was great to see friends from the other clubs and making new ones that share the passion for our wonderful cars. If you missed this, put it in your calendar for next year, as we will be making it an annual inter-club event. There were 2 different driving routes, one with more twists and turns for drivers to enjoy (not so sure all of the passengers would think they were as good though?) and the other more leisurely for those that came for the drive through some equally lovely countryside, without so many bends. Read more of the stories about the events on the blog.
The second weekend of December saw a few lucky Members at Phillip Island for the last round of our Driver’s Championship. It was a very popular event so not many of our members were able to get a spot. When considering your entry in our 2019 calendar, ensure you get in quick to avoid missing out. Final results for the year will be up on the website soon. Our 2019 Drivers' Championship calendar is now online. Our Driver Training and Come and Try dates will be up soon too! We have quite a few bookings in place to run our own events at tracks and other venues next year, we will also do a few events with AROCA to spread out the year. The first round will be at Sandown with AROCA - entries are out now, so get your entry in, and we’ll see you there on 16 February. If you don’t want to drive but still want to be involved, we need lots of people to get their CAMS Official’s licences and help us run the events. There is no cost involved in getting an Official’s licence, but it is a great way to be involved and come and help your club and other members enjoy our shared passion. Call or email me if you want to now more about becoming a CAMS Official.
In December we also had an impromptu coffee, cake and cars meeting at Cooee Café in Capel Sound. It was a great spot and we will be using them again for a coffee stop on runs down the Peninsula. There was plenty of parking, fantastic meals and great coffee.
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you at one of our events in 2019. We have lots of very special events in the planning for new year and beyond, so keep an eye on the calendar and emails so you don’t miss any of them. The first one being the Eastlink Great Australian Rally to Cruden Farm - one not to miss, there will be some amazing cars there to see, both from our club and others.
Thank you all for a fantastic start to the club’s life, we look forward to seeing you in 2019!
Take care and drive safe.
Graeme Bell | President
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
P.O. Box 81, TYABB, VICTORIA. 3913 Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695G BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of: BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International Council CAMS Affiliated Motorsport Club
Both BMW teams have plenty of momentum as they approach the legendary “Mount Panorama” in south-eastern Australia. BMW Team Schnitzer claimed victory at the FIA GT World Cup in mid-November – and intends to build on this strong performance at Bathurst. As he was in Macau (CHN), Augusto Farfus (BRA) will be at the wheel of the #42 BMW M6 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. His team-mates will be Martin Tomczyk (GER) and local hero Chaz Mostert (AUS). Last year, BMW Team Schnitzer secured pole position at Bathurst, but the BMW M6 GT3 then had to retire early from the race.
“Bathurst is one of the best circuits in the world,” said Farfus. “Last year, we had a good weekend there overall but were unable to top it off with a good result. However, we still learned a lot in 2018. So, I think we are well set for the race in February. We have certainly set ourselves some ambitious targets.”
The greatest triumph thus far in the history of Walkenhorst Motorsport came with victory at the Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) 24-hour race in 2018. The team, headed by principal Henry Walkenhorst (GER), is now taking on the new IGTC challenge. Christian Krognes (NOR) will be one of the drivers, accompanied by the BMW works drivers Nick Catsburg (NED) and Mikkel Jensen (DEN). Jensen made the step up from the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme in 2018.
Catsburg added: “Bathurst has long been on my to-do list – and now I will be competing there for the very first time. I am really looking forward to it. I am familiar with the circuit from the simulator and I have watched all the races from recent years. Christian Krognes and Mikkel Jensen are great drivers and Walkenhorst Motorsport has just had a sensational year. Now we are preparing intensively for this great event.”
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will showcase the future of driving pleasure and the potential of digital connectivity in a variety of different ways. From January 8-11 2019, visitors will have their first chance to take a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT, accompanied by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In this way, the BMW Group is underlining its innovative capabilities in the fields of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and services (D+ACES), which are all defined as key areas of future activity in its corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
The vision vehicle will be displayed alongside a sophisticated mixed-reality installation that, for the first time, provides a virtual and immersive impression of what it is like to drive autonomously, emission-free, and fully connected in the BMW Vision iNEXT. To begin the simulation, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant suggests an agenda for the day and plans the activities for the trip perfectly. With virtual reality goggles and a specially-designed spatial concept, visitors are able to immerse themselves in this virtual world: Initially, they drive the BMW Vision iNEXT themselves, but the vehicle soon takes over the driving function. In autonomous “Ease” mode, the driver interacts with the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which makes suggestions and controls various digital services for the driver – from videoconferencing, to shopping, to smart home functions.
With its ground-breaking technology for highly automated driving, intelligent connectivity, and innovative display control concepts, the BMW Vision iNEXT showcases totally new ways to utilize driving time. Visitors can explore the fundamental design principle referred to as “Shy Tech” – discretely integrated technology that only becomes visible when needed – directly, thanks to two further exhibits outside the vehicle. The interior of the BMW Vision iNEXT is designed as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life. This “Favorite Space” answers the question: “What will cars look like when they no longer have to be driven by a person, but still can be?”
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant marks the dawn of a new era for the BMW brand, using natural language for interaction with the vehicle and to access functions. In the new BMW X5 visitors can check out the functions that will be available for new models from March 2019, along with selected future capabilities of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. The personal assistant is also an integral part of the stand concept. It welcomes visitors at the entrance to the stand and guides them to the center of the exhibition through sound and light experiences.
The BMW Group presence at the CES 2019 is completed by spectacular outdoor vehicle presentations. BMW Motorrad will demonstrate one of its research highlights in the field of automated driving: a self-riding BMW R 1200 GS. The insights gained with this test bike will help provide even better assistance with difficult maneuvers in the future. For the first time, visitors can also take a seat in the all-new, first-ever BMW X7 and enjoy being driven through an impressive off-road course.
The vehicle collection of BMW Group Classic is now richer by another unique special. This is all thanks to the vocational training team at the BMW plant in Dingolfing. The apprentices restored the BMW 1600 GT convertible in a project lasting several years under the guidance of their trainers. The four-seater painted in silver has a red hood and its unusual history makes it a revealing representative of the time when the company BMW made the transition from being a niche automaker to a mass-production car manufacturer enjoying steady growth in success and an international reputation.
The classic car now radiates a new lustre. It is the only surviving example of originally two prototypes that BMW commissioned from the Italian bodywork designer Pietro Frua. In autumn of 1967, both automobiles left the production buildings in Dingolfing for the first time. The test drives for one of the vehicles came to an end with an accident and the vehicle was then scrapped. The second car was granted a special honour. The BMW 1600 GT convertible was handed over to the major shareholder in BMW AG at the time, Herbert Quandt. It remained in the hands of the family for many years and was then passed on to other private owners. A fashion model from Munich enjoyed the wind coursing through her hair as she drove along in the open-top BMW and the rare treasure was then acquired by a businessman from Fürth in Franconia, and subsequently found a new home at the Munich-based Allianz Centre for Engineering.
Major restoration work was carried out there on the BMW 1600 GT for the first time so as to ensure that the car was preserved for posterity. When the experts from BWM Group Classic became aware of the unique special from Dingolfing and they succeeded in agreeing an acquisition, a plan emerged to return the automobile to its original condition at the very place where it first saw the light of day. The restoration at the Dingolfing plant became a project that formed part of the training of apprentices who were aspiring to become bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics.
BMW Group Classic supported the project in a number of ways including the expanded options for procuring original parts that had recently become available. Furthermore, replicas of numerous components that were no longer obtainable were painstakingly remanufactured.
The rebirth of the BMW 1600 GT convertible in Dingolfing also rekindled memories of a particularly exciting chapter in the history of BMW. When the two-door car came into existence, the company had just taken over the Dingolfing vehicle manufacturer Glas in that same year. Since 1955, the company had successfully produced the Goggomobile. In 1964, Glas launched the sporty, elegant Glas 1300 GT styled by Frua in the marketplace and one year later the more powerful Glas 1700 GT. Glas was looking for a strong partner and the automaker initially agreed a joint-distribution operation with BMW but this ultimately led to a complete takeover by the Munich company. The compact sports car was then fitted with the rear axle, the seats and the 77 kW/105 hp engine from the BMW 1600 TI, a BMW kidney grille for the front end of the automobile and the round headlights from the BMW 02 Series.
The idea of placing the sporty coupé alongside a convertible came from the USA. A proposal was made by the importer Max Hoffmann to develop a new version of the coupé with a 2.0 litre engine and an open-top version. In October 1967, Frua delivered a convertible body mounted on a strengthened floor assembly. This was then painted in Dingolfing where all further assembly work took place. On 16 November, the BMW 1600 GT convertible was entered in the plant’s production book as being completed. However, the plans for series production and export to the USA never came to fruition.
Only a single example of the Italian-Bavarian convertible was ever licensed for driving on public roads. 51 years after the first automobile was manufactured, its second production was registered. This time the completion of the car’s restoration was celebrated to give BMW Group Classic another gem for its collection.
The “Rolex 24” traditionally marks the start of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA series). In 2019, BMW Team RLL will once again be represented in the GTLM class of the series by the BMW M8 GTEs bearing numbers 24 and 25. In the 24-hour race, Zanardi will share the #24 BMW M8 GTE cockpit with the two regular drivers, John Edwards (USA) and Jesse Krohn (FIN), as well as Chaz Mostert (AUS).
At the first Daytona test, on the very track where they will be competing together in the “Rolex 24” in just a few weeks, Zanardi and BMW Team RLL had the opportunity to get to know one another better and test the BMW M8 GTE that has been modified to meet his requirements. In addition to the normal pedals for Zanardi’s team-mates, the car also features a handbrake lever that allows the Italian driver, a double leg-amputee, to brake by hand. He also has his own steering wheel, which will be installed during the driver change, and allows him to use a throttle ring to accelerate.
The test at Daytona took place in changeable conditions. There were some rain showers and periods when the drivers were able to experience a dry track. Zanardi and Edwards shared the cockpit for the test. They also concentrated on improving the driver changeover. The objective is to complete the switch as quickly as possible between Zanardi and his non-disabled team-mate.
“Well, first let me tell you that I felt very welcomed by BMW Team RLL. It’s great to be part of such a great and professional organisation,” said Zanardi. “And I have to say that initially when I arrived, I was pretty impressed by the size of the facility. It really looks like the kingdom of motorsports here and it was quite intimidating. Of course I am here to serve BMW, but I am also here to enjoy myself and that’s definitely the case. And in doing the job to the best of my ability I can certainly achieve both things.”
“During the long day of testing we faced quite a few challenges,” Zanardi continued. “There was the rain, I had to learn the car, I had to learn the circuit, and then again had to learn the circuit in the dry because I did not run with slicks until I went out in the dark in the evening. Of course it was difficult to negotiate all the braking points and all the different lines in the dark and the last thing I wanted to do was to make mistake and to damage the car. Overall I am extremely satisfied with the outcome, with what I have personally learned. I think all that we did was very useful, we were able to complete the programme and bring home a lot of useful information. So all in all it was a very positive day for me, the team and BMW M Motorsport – and we will progress from it.”
In the #25 car, Tom Blomqvist (GBR), Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Colton Herta (USA) continued preparations for the 24-hour race and the 2019 IMSA season. Blomqvist and De Phillippi are the two regular BMW Team RLL drivers in that car. At the 24-hour race, the duo will be supported by Herta and BMW DTM driver Philipp Eng (AUT).
After a short Christmas and New Year break for Zanardi, his fellow drivers, the BMW Team RLL and BMW M Motorsport, they will be back at work at Daytona on the first weekend in January. The “Roar Before the Rolex 24”, the official pre-event test ahead of the 24-hour race, is scheduled to take place from 4th to 6th January.
Today, the BMW Group announced the launch of its Ride-Hailing service in Chengdu, the capital city of the Chinese province Sichuan as part of its premium mobility brand ReachNow. The BMW Group is the first foreign company in China to obtain a license to operate a Ride-Hailing service. By adding an additional premium mobility option to its existing Car-Sharing business in China, the company seeks to further expand its mobility services offering.
“We are excited to offer our new premium Ride-Hailing service in Chengdu, one of the largest Ride-Hailing hubs in the world embracing mobility solutions for a sustainable urban future” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad, Customer Engagement and Digital Business Innovation BMW Group. “Half our fleet of 200 BMW 5 Series are sustainable plug-in-hybrid vehicles and our highly skilled and trained drivers will ensure an exciting premium mobility experience,” he added.
The Ride-Hailing service will complement the current ReachNow Car-Sharing business which was started in Chengdu in partnership with EVCARD in December 2017 and runs a fleet of 100 BMW i3 electric vehicles. The new Ride-Hailing service offers an additional mobility solution for those who do not wish to get behind the wheel themselves, but would rather book a car with driver. Customers can use the BMW ReachNow App to either pre-book or instantly book a Ride-Hailing service.
The BMW Group views the expansion of mobility services as an important pillar of its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT. With service offerings for on-demand mobility (DriveNow and ReachNow), parking (ParkNow) and charging (ChargeNow), the BMW Group is establishing a holistic ecosystem for the most pressing issues affecting urban mobility. The new business models tap into new customer groups and respond to the demands of its existing customers who appreciate individual, premium on-demand mobility exactly tailored to their requirements.
BMW Group expands footprint in ChinaThe expansion of mobility services in China represents one of numerous strategic investments announced this year in China.
In 2018 the BMW Group has further expanded its footprint and the scale of its commercial success in China. The BMW Group announced together with its partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. (CBA) the early extension of the joint venture contract for BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) and the further deepening of the existing successful collaboration. Furthermore, the BMW Group intends to increase its stake in BBA from 50 percent to 75 percent. BBA will be investing more than three billion euros in its plants in Shenyang over the next few years. In 2020 the first fully-electric BMW - the all-electric BMW iX3 – will be built in China and exported to markets outside of China.
Additionally, the BMW Group has signed an agreement with the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to produce electric MINI vehicles in China through a mutual 50:50 joint venture. As well as electric MINI vehicles, the "Spotlight Automotive Limited" joint venture will also produce electric vehicles for Great Wall Motor. The establishment of the new company is subject to approval by the relevant Chinese authorities and the finalisation of business registration procedures.
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