BMW has announced that it will be teaming up with the Andretti Formula E team as part of a new overall motorsport strategy which sees a significant focus on sustainability.
The news sees BMW as the latest major manufacturer to commit to the all-electric championshiop, cementing its burgeoning reputation as a key development ground for EV technology. Jaguar will enter the series with a full factory team this year, with established names such as Audi, Renault, DS Automobiles and now BMW also involved, joined by automotive new-comers Faraday Future, Next EV and Mahindra.
The partnership will see BMW Motorsport and Andretti Formula E (pictured below testing at Donington) work closely together for the next two seasons at least, with a review set to come at that point which will look at development rules. It is expected that, if the series progresses as hoped, BMW would then enter as a full factory team to make the most of its EV drivetrain development potential.
BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, said: “The commitment in Formula E sees us forge new paths and demonstrate our expertise in the field of electric mobility. Over the coming years, the cooperation with Andretti Formula E will primarily focus on familiarising ourselves with the procedures and processes, and on intensifying our knowledge.
“Our works driver Antonio Felix da Costa will be in action behind the wheel. A works involvement is then conceivable as of the series’ fifth season. The premise for all these steps is the further positive development of the series, which includes increasing the capacity of the batteries, for example.”
BMW has been the official vehicle partner for the series since its inception, providing models including the i3 and i8 as course, safety, and medical cars for the championship.
The announcement is just part of a larger BMW Motorsport realignment with commitments that will ‘contribute to BMW M, BMW i and Mini’. Naturally, as BMW’s sportscar division, BMW M has always been closely tied to the company’s motorsports projects, but the inclusion BMW i is more surprising.
It is clear that BMW will look to push ahead with the development of battery and electric motor technology by using motorsport to speed up the rate of progress. Racing commitments include the German touring car series DTM, the Dakar Rally, and the World Endurance Championship including Le Mans.
Klaus Frohlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, said: “The strategic realignment of the motorsport activities is a strong commitment to motorsport on the part of our company. It will remain a cornerstone within the BMW Group in the future. Everyone knows that BMW and motorsport are intrinsically linked.
“The commitments allow us to demonstrate our expertise in the areas of technology and integration on international platforms, including the world’s leading racing series for electric mobility. Electric mobility will continue to grow in importance. In the last 10 years, we have established a leading position in the automobile industry in this field with BMW i.
“Through our partnership with Andretti Formula E in the FIA Formula E Championship, we will now additionally see a close interaction between motor racing and production development in our company, from which both departments will benefit.”