BMW has formally confirmed that it is in partnership with the Andretti Formula E team on a long-term basis in the all-electric series.
The move comes after rumors of a partnership circulated earlier this year, and BMW-contracted driver Antonio Felix da Costa signed for the team before forsaking his role in the DTM to concentrate on his Formula E campaign with the US-based team.
Da Costa and season three teammate Robin Frijns will compete for the Andretti squad in the 2016/17 season, which kicks off with the first ever Hong Kong ePrix next month.
BMW has supplied course cars throughout the first two seasons of Formula E and brings a fleet of its fully-electric and hybrid vehicles to every race. The BMW i8 is used as the Safety Car and an all-electric BMW i3 is utilized as the official Medical Car.
It is understood by Motorsport.com that BMW’s involvement with Andretti includes a view to the German manufacturer entering the championship in a full works capacity in the future. BMW engineers and team members have been working with Andretti since earlier this year.
Motorsport.com revealed in July that BMW was working with a team widely believed to be Andretti after speaking to BMW boss Jens Marquardt.
"Over the coming years, the cooperation with Andretti Formula E will primarily focus on familiarizing ourselves with the procedures and processes, and on intensifying our knowledge," said Marquardt.
"Our works driver Antonio Felix da Costa will be in action behind the wheel. A works involvement is then conceivable as of the series’ fifth season.
"The premise for all these steps is the further positive development of the series, which includes increasing the capacity of the batteries, for example.”
The news comes at the same time as BMW's confirmed entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018, which is part of a major expansion of the marque's global motorsport plans.
Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW, said: “The new motor racing strategy is particularly characterized by a strong ‘brand fit’. The different commitments ideally contribute to the attributes that fans and customers connect with the respective brand.
"We will extend the existing target groups and will – for instance – become even more visible for urban and young customers, as with our Formula E commitment.
"Overall we are very well positioned with this strategy in motorsport and are represented on the most important markets worldwide. BMW and motorsport – they belong together.
"This combination has always shaped the brand.”
BMW’s commitment to Formula E ensures that it joins Audi, DS, Faraday Future, Renault, Jaguar, Mahindra, NextEV and ZF as automotive and/or major electrical engineering manufacturers.
Volvo and Nissan are also known to be looking closely at the championship for potential future programs.