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Category: Formula BMW Americas

Gabby Chaves (5th in the American Driver Ranking) did something no one else has ever done in Formula BMW Americas history. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who has pulled off this feat in any racing series anywhere in the world. Gabby Chaves finished on the podium in every one of the 14 races in the 2009 season. A fitting way to bring the series, which has been dropped by BMW, to closure.

The dual Columbian, American citizen completed the accomplishment with another runner up finish, his second at Mosport, after starting once again in the second spot.

“I think that’s what gave me the championship,” Chaves said stating the obvious. “I did really well in the opening races, and then stayed consistent with seconds and thirds, five races in a row. Then at Lime Rock, I think that’s what got the championship with a win and a second that gave me a gap followed by two wins at Road American which clinched it.”

Read the entire article at American Driver Ranking:
Mosport Coverage: Day Three, Part One Chaves Achieves FBMW History

Gabby ChavesRoad America is a track where drivers have long gone to make their names, and this weekend was no different.

Young Colombian-American racer Gabby Chaves won the 2009 Formula BMW Americas Championship with two race wins on Sunday at Road America to seal the title with two rounds of racing yet to run. The victories and title-clinching performance confirmed young Chaves as a star of the future for the karting graduate, who raced his way to the podium in every round of the 12-race Formula BMW Americas season to date.

“It has been our consistency and our ability to be there at the end that has won this championship,” Chaves said. “You have to have some luck to win a championship, but we have put ourselves in position to score big points in every race and that is what a champion does. I am very happy to have been a part of the Formula BMW Americas series this year and am excited to have won the title.”

The title is the newest line on an already burgeoning racing resume for the Café do Colombia-sponsored racer, who was a tennis prodigy by the age of 10 before a chance trip in a kart changed his career trajectory forever. A successful career in karting led to the chance to race his way to a Skip Barber scholarship in Formula car competition, where he at one point enjoyed a 17-race undefeated streak of competition.

His performance in the Skip Barber National Championship then paved the way for his move up to Formula BMW Americas, which is the North American-centric chapter of the global competition formula that has spawned the careers of several current Formula One stars.

“For me to race in Formula BMW was an amazing opportunity and I want to thank Café de Colombia for being such fantastic supporters for me and my career,” said Chaves. “I am very happy that we were able to make the most of this opportunity and I hope that it continues to lead to more good things happening in my career.

Chaves, who set a record as the youngest-ever race winner in Formula BMW competition world wide with his first victory at the age of 15, set another new mark this weekend as no Formula BMW Champion has taken the season-ending honors at only 16 years old.

His record of performance is awe-inspiring, amassing five wins, six runner-up results, and one third place finish. His season has been marked by not just consistency, but also speed, as underlined by the eight different track records he has set.

The performance has gained a lot of attention for the youngster, who has also been invited to participate in the Singapore round of Formula One competition by racing in the Formula BMW event in support of the Grand Prix on September 26.

Gabby Chaves Achievements:

CHAMPION-2009 Formula BMW Americas
Skip Barber National Championship -2008 five races, 3 victories, one 3rd and one 4th place finishes. (Had to withdraw  after leading  the championship to compete in the BMW pacific series)
UNDEFEATED CHAMPION  2007-2008 SKIP BARBER SOUTHERN REGIONAL SERIES ( 10 races , 10 victories)
RUNNER-UP 2007 SKIP BARBER EASTERN REGIONAL SERIES
WINNER 2007 COLOMBIAN GRAND PRIX FORMULA RENAULT 2000
WINNER 2006 SKIP BARBER ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP SHOOT-OUT
WINNER 2008 FLORIDA WINTERTOUR NATIONAL KARTING SERIES (ROTAX JUNIOR CLASS)   Ocala Grand Prix March/24/2008
CHAMPION 2006 HOMESTEAD FL SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIP EASYKART 60
3RD PLACE  2006 EASY KART GRAND NATIONALS  100 cc.
CHAMPION 2006 FLORIDA WINTER TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP/ ROTAX MINIMAX
2ND PLACE 2006 CRG GRAND NATIONAL NORTH CAROLINA /CADET CLASS
CHAMPION 2006 STARS OF KARTING NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP/ CADET CLASS
CHAMPION 2006 ROTAX EAST COAST DIVISION / ROTAX MINIMAX
2ND PLACE 2006 ROTAX GRAND NATIONALS / ROTAX MINIMAX
7TH PLACE 2006 EASY KART WORLD FINALS JESOLO, ITALY/ EASY KART 100 cc.
CHAMPION 2005 FLORIDA ROTAX CHALLENGE / ROTAX MINIMAX
4th PLACE   2005  EASY KART WORLD FINALS PARMA,  ITALY/ EASY KART 100 cc.
CHAMPION 2005 EASY KART GRAND NATIONAL / EASY KART 60 cc.
CHAMPION 2005 HOMESTEAD, FL SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIP/ EASY KART 60 cc.

James KovacicEvery athlete, regardless of their idiosyncrasy, has a defining moment in life that draws them to their sport. A spark, if you will, that says, “I want to do this, I’m good at this.”. That moment came for Australian race driver James Kovacic at a very young age. James had been watching the go kart drivers run laps at Forrester’s Beach for a few years before he was able to get behind the wheel himself. Despite repeated attempts to drive the karts, James was turned down and told, “You aren’t tall enough.”. Eventually, when James was 8 years old, he was given the chance to get behind the wheel of a go kart. No, it wasn’t a racing kart, it was a rental kart. At the time, it didn’t matter because James just wanted to drive. He had finally attained the proper height requirement to participate, but he was still too short to reach the pedals and to see over the steering wheel. The track attendants at Forrester’s Beach Go Kart solved that problem by placing six cushions underneath the youngster.

Read the interview at Junior Open Wheel Talent:
Driver Profile: James Kovacic

For Australian James Kovacic, Connecticut seemed an unlikely destination to celebrate his 16th birthday, but since the Formula BMW Americas schedule took him to Lime Rock Park, Kovacic figured he should do something special to mark the occasion.

The young Team Apex pilot became the first driver to win a Formula BMW Americas race from a starting spot other than the pole this year as he came from fifth on the starting grid to score his first career win. Kovacic split the race weekend with Colombian-American Gabby Chaves, as Chaves’ victory in Saturday’s first race propelled him back into the series points lead.

Chaves won the day’s first event in dramatic fashion as he swiped the lead from Autotecnica’s Gianmarco Raimondo on a late restart, then held off a fierce last-corner charge from the Canadian to win by 0.032 seconds. Raimondo got a great run coming off the final corner of the 1.53-mile Lime Rock track, drafted right to the gearbox of Chaves’ Eurointernational machine before coming up half a carlength short in the drag race to the checkered flag.

“I caught a gap on the restart and was able to get inside and take the lead, then was able to build it a little,” Chaves recalled. “Gianmarco came at me hard at the end but I was able to hold him off. This was a great weekend for me, as we moved another step closer to our goal of winning the Formula BMW Americas championship!”

Raimondo settled for his second runner-up finish of the year while Kovacic showed a glimpse of things to come by snaring the third spot ahead of a season-best fourth-place run by Dominican Daniel Vela. The win for Chaves, coupled with an eighth-place finish by Eurointernational’s Giancarlo Vilarinho, moved Chaves into the points lead.

The second race was a fierce battle, run under sunny skies and the hottest temperatures of the weekend. Alex Ellis controlled the race from the pole for the first 13 laps, while Kovacic steadily made his way through the field. The Aussie moved to fourth on Lap 5, was third by Lap 7, and dashed by Chaves for second after just one more orbit of the LRP circuit. He then set his sights on Ellis, chasing him for nearly three full laps before an Ellis spin promoted Kovacic to the lead.

Kovacic held off strong challenges from Chaves and Raimondo over the next two laps, but was equal to the task, stretching his lead to a full second before a Robert Garcia crash brought out the yellow flag under which the race would eventually end.

“I can’t even explain how happy I am about getting my first win,” grinned Kovacic. “I don’t know what our Team Apex guys did to this car but it was really fast. I tried to keep out of trouble, find good spots to make my passes and drive hard.”

Chaves held on for second and maintained his streak of finishing on the podium in every race through the nine rounds of 2009. Raimondo finished third for his sixth podium of the year while Brazilian Joao Horto set a new career high by bringing his Team Apex machine home in fourth. Horto’s countryman Vilarinho rebounded from a tough opening race to round out the top five.

The series will compete at the 4.048-mile Road America layout with a tripleheader August 14-16, and will wrap up the 2009 schedule with a doubleheader at Mosport two weeks later.

Alexander Rossi the Formula BMW Americas champion was a favorite among several to win the 2008 Formula BMW World Final yesterday at the “Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez“ in Mexico City, Mexico. Rossi did just that, becoming the 2008 Formula BMW World Champion. His impressive drive in the final looked easy as no one had Rossi’s pace setting fastest lap and crossing the finish line 0.655 seconds ahead Michael Christensen, of Denmark in 2nd.

The world final win caps a dream season for the 17-year old from Nevada City California who clinched the Formula BMW Americas title in September. With the World Final win yesterday, Rossi earns a test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Rossi set many records during the 2008 season including resetting his own several times. He now can add another to his resume becoming the first American to win the Formula BMW World Final and the only American in the international series for 2008.
“Since I began racing go karts at age 10 my path has been Formula One” said a delighted Rossi. “I still have a long way to go and much to prove, but it is important for a solid American to be in Formula One and that goal is becoming closer for me. This was a fantastic end to the 2008 season capturing both the Formula BMW Americas and World Final Championship and now an opportunity to test with BMW Sauber F1 Team. You can bet I wlll make the most of the opportunity and prepare accordingly.The entire Eurointernational team had a tremendous amount of confidence coming to Mexico City and no doubts we would bid for top honors. It is really sweet to win after overcoming technical penalties and mechanical issues this weekend, proving our resolve in the final made the difference. I have to thank my team owner Antonio Ferrari for giving me a perfect car and my parents, sponsors and supporters for an incredible 2008 season.”

Rossi posted the fastest time in the second of Friday’s four practice sessions as he came to terms with the speed and flow of the 14-turn, 4.421-kilometer circuit. Rossi finished second in Friday’s Super Pole competition to earn a front row starting spot in the first two heat races. In post-qualifying inspection a small wing spacer was found to have fallen off and Rossi was penalized four starting positions relegating him to 6th on the grid for first two heats.
Saturday in Heat one Rossi worked his way up to finish fourth. In Heat two he finished second and well on the way to an excellent World Final starting spot. Starting fourth in Heat three, a faulty gear box held him back, finishing a disappointing eighth.

For the Final Rossi was starting in fourth position (points earned in the three heat races). Rossi executed a perfect drive in the 19 lap main event. Falling back to sixth on the first lap after a cautious start, he began his charge to the front. On lap one he cleared Mikel Grenier of Canada. On lap four he drove into the top-three overtaking Ollie Millroy of Britain and Daniel Juncandella of Spain. Four laps later he was in a zone as he applied pressure and overtook 2008 Formula BMW Europe champion and local hero Esteban Gutierrez from Mexico for second. With six laps remaining in the 19-lap race Rossi passed Michael Christensen, of Denmark, to take the lead and drive to the checkered flag for a well-deserved Formula BMW World Final victory.