BMW will join the FIA Formula E Championship as an official manufacturer for the electric series’ fifth season, which will take place in 2018/2019.
The Munich-based carmaker has been steadily expanding its range of production electric vehicles, and says Formula E is a next logical step in its electromobility strategy. BMW’s i8 has already featured in the series as the safety car, but the company will develop a brand new powertrain for its Formula E cars, which will be run by the Andretti team as a BMW works entry.
“This project is thoroughly driven by technology,” said BMW board member Klaus Fröhlich. “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.”
BMW is not the first major German OEM to enter the series. Last year, Audi announced it was ending its long association with the World Endurance Championship in order to focus on Formula E. BMW revealed in 2016 that it had aspirations to compete in the electric championship, but wanted to see a number of rule changes implemented before it committed.
“The changes we required for our involvement will come into effect in Season 5,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “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.”