Young New Zealand racing driver Dominic Storey is looking for another good result this weekend at the sixth round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia motor racing series at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.
This weekend's round is the second this year to support a Formula 1 Grand Prix, the first being the opening round at Sepang in Malaysia back in March.
BMW takes the F1 support meetings very seriously, with the young drivers competing in the Formula BMW Asia series set to get the opportunity this weekend to meet team F1 drivers Nick Heidfield and Robert Kubica
Series rookie Storey, 16, set the second fastest lap time in qualifying and finishing second to series leader, Australian Sam Abay, at the third round of the 2006 series in Beijing in June and qualified fifth then finished third in the final race at the most recent round of the Pan-Asia series in Thailand last month.
The 5.5 km Shanghai International Circuit - built at fabulous expense five years ago so China could host F1 and MotoGP events - is a far cry from the more modest Goldenport (Beijing) and Bira (Thailand) circuits the Formula BMW Asia series also runs at but Storey says that he has done enough laps round Malaysia's Sepang circuit (which also hosts an F1GP and which hosted the first two rounds of the 2006 series) to have a fairly good idea what to expect.
"It's long and fast and if you qualify well and get a jump at the start it's going to pay dividends in the races."
This weekend's round at Shanghai is the second to last on the 2006 Formula BMW Asia schedule with two races. The final, originally slated for Taiwan, will now also be held in China, at the Zhuhai International Circuit near Hong Kong late in October.
Melbourne 19-year-old Sam Abay continues to lead the championship points standings but the other young New Zealand driver competing in the series, Wanganui's Earl Bamber, narrowed the gap to him at the most recent round after qualifying on pole and going 2-4-1 in the races.
Heading into this weekend's penultimate round Abay has 207 points, Bamber 193, with Western Australian Daniel Ricciardo third on 163. Storey, who missed valuable scoring opportunities at the Indonesian round when he was hit by a bout of food poisoning, is sixth with 88 points.
Bamber leads the the Rookie of The Year standings with 215 points from Ricciardo, Thai-based Brit James Grunwell (190) and Storey (137).
Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. Up-and-coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.
The car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. BMW's 140 bhp K1200 engine is capable of propelling it to 230km/h and the car itself exceeds the FIA safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has also developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. As well as this all Formula BMW Asia drivers must use the HANS safety system.
Formula BMW series are held in Asia, Europe, the UK and the United States and in late November this year the annual Formula BMW World Final will be held at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tomo.
Dominic Storey is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com
2006 Formula BMW Asia Championship
Points Standings after Round 14.
1. Sam Abay (AUS/Team E-Rain) 207 points; 2. Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus) 193 points; 3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) 163 points; 4. James Grunwell (THA/Team Meritus) 142 points; 5. Aaron Lim (MAS/Eurasia Motorsport) 106 points; 6. Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport) 88 points; 7. Zahir Ali (INA/Eurasia Motorsport) 75 points; 8. Mohammed Al Baharna (BRN/Team E-Rain) 62 points; 9. Aditya Akkineni (IND/Team E-Rain) 46 points; 10. Hamed Al Fardan (BRN/Team Meritus) 40 points; 11. Hafiz bin Helmi (SIN/Team Meritus) 9 points; 12. Mohammed Hanif Nazeer (IND/Ao's Racing) 1 point; 13. Rayomand Banajee (IND/Privateer) 1 point.
Rookie Cup Points Standings after Round 14.
1. Earl Bamber 215 points; 2. Daniel Ricciardo 196 points; 3. James Grunwell 190 points; 4. Dominic Storey 137 points; 5. Aditya Akkineni 130 points.