Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen in Daytona


On the way up.

BMW Motorsport youth development.On the way up.

The development of young racing drivers enjoys a long tradition at BMW. It goes back more than 40 years and is inextricably linked with one name: Jochen Neerpasch. As Managing Director of BMW M GmbH at the time, Neerpasch formed the first BMW Junior team in 1977. In doing so, he set a milestone in the promotion of young motorsport talent. His ethos was “Only the combination of driver and technology can be successful.” As such, it was just as important to him to invest in the drivers as it was to invest in technology. He used workshops, training and sport psychologists to press ahead with the development of youngsters, before launching the first BMW Junior Team in 1977 and offering young drivers Marc Surer, Manfred Winkelhock and Eddie Cheever the vital springboard to the rest of their careers. Over the following years, the youth development programme was optimised with different concepts and constant adjustments. The result remains the same; many talented youngsters have used this unique youth development to gain a foothold in motorsport. New life has been breathed into the idea of BMW Junior Team in 2020, with drivers Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen the first to benefit. Alongside the Juniors, just as he was back in 1977, is Jochen Neerpasch.

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Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen at Formula Medicine

Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen also receive media and social media coaching, as well as insights into the environment of a large organisation like BMW. One of these mentors is Jochen Neerpasch, for whom the story comes full circle after more than 40 years. Back in 1977, it was Neerpasch, Managing Director of BMW Motorsport GmbH at the time, who formed the first BMW Junior Team, paving the way for many talented youngsters to become racing drivers. He is joined in the role of mentor by Dirk Adorf, BMW M works driver Philipp Eng and Riccardo Ceccarelli, Head of Formula Medicine.

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The goal of the training programme is to develop the Juniors together in many different areas, to support them individually and holistically, and in doing so to make them better and, above all, more mature racing drivers. On the way, BMW M Motorsport will turn to five different pillars, which come into effect within the framework of the training. At the heart of the programme are extensive race training at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and other international racetracks, fitness and mental training camps with Formula Medicine over the course of several months, and team building through the Juniors living together in shared accommodation.

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Das BMW Junior Team mit Jochen Neerpasch


Jochen Neerpasch

Jochen Neerpasch.

Place of birth: Krefeld, Germany
Date of birth: 23rd March 1939
Founder of BMW Motorsport GmbH, founder of the BMW Junior Team

Not only forms the bridge between tradition and the present, but can also call upon a wealth of experience to come up with valuable ideas for the strategy of the programme.

Dirk Adorf

Dirk Adorf.

Place of birth: Altenkirchen, Germany
Date of birth: 10th July 1969
BMW works driver, BMW Juniors mentor since 2014

Is the direct point of contact for the Juniors and, with his vast experience of the Nordschleife, offers valuable practical advice for the races.

Riccardo Ceccarelli

Riccardo Ceccarelli.

Place of birth: Viareggio, Italy
Date of birth: 27th May 1960
Founder of Formula Medicine

As head of Formula Medicine, he and his team develop detailed plans for the intensive fitness and mental training programme.

BMW Werksfahrer Philipp Eng

Philipp Eng.

Place of birth: Salzburg, Austria
Date of birth: 28th February 1990
BMW works driver

Progressed from BMW Junior to successful BMW works driver and can offer the new Juniors advice based on his own experience.


Step by step to the top.

At the heart of the Juniors’ training is the racing on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, where the Juniors compete in the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS), as well as the legendary 24-hour race. Having enjoyed a successful 2020 in the BMW M240i Racing and the BMW M4 GT4, the three Juniors stepped up to the GT3 class and contested the full season on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, including the 24-hour race, in the BMW M6 GT3.  

To develop their skills at the wheel, the Juniors are given their own simulators for training purposes and regularly take part in sim racing events. However, the young drivers are not only supported at the wheel of a BMW car or a race simulator. They are prepared intensively for the physical and mental demands of motor racing at training camps which last several weeks and are run by Formula Medicine. The holistic approach to training also includes content outside motor racing, within the environment of BMW M Motorsport and BMW M GmbH. The Juniors also receive a lot of media and social media training. Last but not least, team building also forms an integral part of the training and development. To encourage team spirit, the Juniors share accommodation both at the Nürburgring and at the Formula Medicine training camp.

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BMW Junior Team in the simulator

      BMW Junior Team Philosophy | BMW Motorsport

      BMW Junior Team at a sim racing event

          BMW Junior Team Philosophy | BMW Motorsport

          BMW Junior Team in Daytona

              BMW Junior Team Philosophy | BMW Motorsport

              BMW Junior Team in the simulator

                  BMW Junior Team Philosophy | BMW Motorsport

                  BMW Junior team in the Formula Medicine training

                      BMW Junior Team Philosophy | BMW Motorsport

                      Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen

                      BMW JUNIOR TEAM.

                      With three promising young drivers, the BMW Junior Team makes a comeback more than 40 years after it was founded back in 1977. This sees BMW Motorsport not only continue a tradition of talent development that spans decades, but also set new standards in the training of young drivers. The most important information on the BMW Junior Team.
                      Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen

                      BMW JUNIOR TEAM
                      DRIVERS & RACE CARS.

                      Talented racers Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen are the new generation of the BMW Junior Team. They will complete a training programme spanning two seasons and are eager to follow in the footsteps of their famous predecessors, who used the BMW training programme as a springboard to a successful career.