Philipp Eng will make his Formula One debut in the altitude of Mexico City this weekend as he becomes the latest in the line of Formula BMW 'world champions' to receive their prize drive from the works grand prix team.
Having seen 2006 FBMW World Finals winner Christian Vietoris take his first laps in an F1 machine at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo a year ago, Austrian Eng went out and dominated the 2007 event, beating current FMaster driver Josef Kral on the road to claim the title and become the third inter-series champion in FBMW history.
He has now had to wait fully twelve months to claim the ultimate part of his prize, and find out exactly where he would have to go to accept it, but will be on track at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez this weekend to kick off the fourth World Finals, where 21 youngsters from around the world will seek to follow in his footsteps.
“I can hardly wait,” the 18-year old, who has raced sporadically in F3 this year, admitted, "Of course, I have done some special preparation for this test. The strain on the neck muscles will be much greater than I am used to, but I feel I am well equipped. My aim is to make a good impression and to enjoy the time in the car.”
Eng will not be alone in demonstrating the potential of a contemporary F1 car to Mexican motorsport fans, as regular BMW Sauber race pilot Robert Kubica and BMW Team Germany WTCC frontrunner Augusto Farfus will alternate behind the wheel of the F1.08. Farfus will be making only his second F1 appearance since performing a similar role in Valencia last season.
BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen will also be in attendance, as will WTCC driver Félix Porteiro, while the BMW V12 LMR sports prototype and legendary BMW M1 'super saloon' will take to the track.