A young budding Gibraltarian was plucked by the prestigious BMW to engage in its costly scholarship.
Tom Gladdis, 15, was recently awarded a scholarship worth £35,000 to drive in the next seasons Formula BMW UK Championship. He was evaluated by a panel of judges, one of them including former Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell. Tom graduated in the 2005 Karting Championship in Spain and is now named as the new UK BMW Junior Drivers.
Being a high-quality attractive package, BMW handpicked over 24 skilled and selected drivers from over the world. Albeit Tom had the least driving experience, he excelled as the winner amongst his peers.
Financial backing is only one of the perks of this high-status award. Benefits such as driver coaching at each race, media and PR tuition and health and fitness training are supplied to Tom. The aim of the programme is to provide a concrete foundation for professional racing drivers.
The series within the UK is held over 10 meetings with 2 races taking place at each meeting. Races are held at the top UK circuits: Silverstone, Donnington, Brands, Hatch, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft and Knockhill in Scotland plus one round at the Southern Ireland circuit of Mondello Park.
BMW has a reputation for being fast, furious and sleek, appealing to the up and coming young male drivers. Therefore it is no surprise that Formula BMW skids its wheels around the world, within the roads of the 4 continents. At least 20,000 spectators are attracted to each round. The show is also broadcast live on satellite to 53 million homes around 14 different countries in Europe. It is also shown on the ITV Motorsport programme broadcast.
The main aim of BMW is to back motor racing at the grass-roots level by offering drivers the comprehensive training they need. Internationally applied sporting and technical regulations ensure that all participants compete against each other with identical equipment and in a fair competitive environment. That means nobody gains an advantage through financial or technical means, and that is the basis of an absolutely level playing field in the context of relatively limited budgets.
As a vital part of experienced racing teams the young talents get used to the atmosphere in a professional single-seater series. The effectiveness of this concept is proved by drivers such as Nico Rosberg, Ralf Schumacher, Christian Klien, Timo Glock and many more, who have made it from the Formula BMW into a Formula One cockpit.Tom is currently undergoing intensive training in preparation for the 2007 Formula BMW season