BMW will join Formula E as an official manufacturer for Season 5. The German performance car giant has confirmed that it will build a brand new powertrain to be used by the Andretti team in 2018/19.
BMW wants to use its involvement in the all-electric racing series to help develop the technology used in the next generation of its electric cars.
“Through our involvement in Formula E, we are addressing the development towards sustainable and emission-free mobility in the automobile industry and are also making a contribution to the brand’s progression to BMW iNEXT,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. “This project is thoroughly driven by technology. We are using Formula E as a development laboratory, operating under the unique conditions that prevail in motor racing – with very unique demands and opportunities. The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project. The result is a technology transfer on a whole new level. We are certainly confident that the BMW Group will benefit greatly from the experience gained in the field of electrotechnology during this project.”
BMW has been involved with Formula E since its inception as the Official Vehicle Partner of the series, suppling the BMW i8 safety car and i3 medical and course cars. However, this will be the first time it has built its own powertrain for the all-electric series.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said: “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. The changes we required for our involvement will come into effect in Season 5 – these include, for example, the omission of the car changeover. We are already seeing in our development work that colleagues from the production and motorsport departments are collaborating in a completely new way. The result is new paths, which we are forging together in the matter of electric drivetrains. 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.”
BMW joined forces with Andretti during Season 2 and has been providing technical support. But this announcement takes its involvement to the next level.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with BMW i and serve as BMW’s official Formula E works team beginning in Season 5,” said Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Autosport and its global family of race teams. “The ongoing collaboration between BMW and Andretti Formula E has provided a strong foundation for BMW’s entry as an official manufacturer. We look forward to running BMW’s first all-electric racing drivetrain and competing for the Formula E Championship. BMW is leading the automotive future with the BMW i line and their innovation in electric car technology. I couldn’t pick a more prestigious or historic manufacturer to work with in Formula E.”