BMW WilliamsF1 Team Driver Mark Webber Makes History Crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge
February 27th, 2005
Webber drove across the bridge ten times, making ten U-turns, a major feat in itself given the car’s extra large turning circle. The FW26B was previously run in Grands Prix in 2004 and was used for testing until recently. It is a full Grand Prix spec car and ran full wet rain tyres, insurance against the brooding early morning sky which threatened rain but only delivered light drizzle. Webber drove cautiously, reigning in the massively powerful BMW V10-engined car yet still managed to race up through the gears to give Sydney-siders an unmistakable aural treat: that of a Formula One engine at close to full throttle. Webber said the experience was memorable and a little strange; crossing the harbour Bridge devoid of traffic was an unusual experience. The historic Formula One drive took place between 8:10am and 8:20am and was televised live by Network Ten.
“The road was a little slippery and a little bumpy, but it was an amazing experience,” Webber said after. “I took it easy as the tyres were cold.I was concentrating to make sure it all went smoothly. As I came over the crest each time and saw the empty road ahead it was incredible.”
The drive celebrated Webber’s elevation to Australia’s elite ranks of champion athletes. Now driving for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, Webber has his best chance yet to put an Australian on the podium, and challenge for the Formula One crown. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team brought a full complement of engineers with to ensure the car did not miss a beat. The FW26B will now travel to Melbourne to take part in the Speed Comparison events at the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit during the Fosters Australian Formula One Grand Prix. BMW Group Australia General Manager for Marketing and Communication, Mr. John Kananghinis, said today marked a significant event in BMW’s history in Australia.
“We are very proud to be part of this historic event. BMW has had a very strong presence in the Australian market for more than 20 years and for the first time we have an Australian racing in BMW colours who could well become the next world champion,” he said.
“Mark has stamped a strong print on Formula One racing for the first time since Alan Jones and Sir Jack Brabham took out world titles. There is every confidence in him taking us back to the top of the podium.”
Last week Webber finished his final days of testing in Valencia, Spain in the recently unveiled BMW WilliamsF1 FW27 Formula One car, built for the 2005 season.
Next Sunday, he will drive the new FW27 in its international racing debut in the opening race of the season at Albert Park in Melbourne.