It is a comeback that is causing a sensation in the world of motorsport. The legendary BMW Junior Team is celebrating its revival after more than 40 years and will compete in the entire season of the Nürburgring Endurance Series as well as in the 24-Hour Race. In 1977, the names were still Eddie Cheever, Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer. Now, a new generation of promising talents will be at the start. The Briton Dan Harper, Max Hesse and the US-American Neil Verhagen will complete an intensive training program as a preparation for the scheduled two seasons. With Jochen Neerpasch, one of their mentors is also a founder of the team.
To strengthen the team spirit, the juniors will move into a shared apartment near the Nürburgring from March onwards. The trio, all of whom still lack any experience in the Nürburgring Endurance Series, have, however, already had their first successes in racing: 19-years-old Dan Harper won the British Carrera Cup title in 2019 and was nominated for the prestigious Autosport Awards for his achievements. The 18-years-old Max Hesse won the title in the Touring Car Series TCR Germany in 2019. He was also part of the ADAC support programme. The 18-years-old Neil Verhagen finished sixth overall in the British F3 Championship in 2019 and was part of the Red Bull Junior Programme. In addition to BMW works driver Philipp Eng and Dr Riccardo Ceccarelli of Formula Medicine, BMW works driver Dirk Adorf in particular will look after the needs of the young talents.
“I’m really looking forward to accompany our juniors during the two-year program,” says Adorf, who has taken 60 class wins and became VLN champion in 1992, 1996 and 1997. “Already now, the boys are very strong and they will be trained by us in all areas. On top of that, they will be able to learn on the best race track in the world. If they are fast there, they will surely find their way around everywhere. I am very familiar with all areas at and around the Nürburgring and I am thus always available to the juniors there as an important advisor; of course with my track knowledge, but certainly also with my knowledge of the region. If they all live in one apartment there, they will certainly also need someone to answer their normal everyday questions. I think I can help them in getting to know a lot of people and to also feel just a little bit at home.”
Max Hesse is also already looking forward to his racing commitments in the Eifel: “I think we will have a really cool time together. Since there are three of us, we can push each other and learn from each other. I think that is very good. Driving these fantastic BMW race cars on the Nordschleife will simply be mega.”