40 Jahre BMW Nachwuchsförderung

40 years of BMW Motorsport talent promotion: A meeting of generations at the anniversary event.

The big meeting of generations was the highlight of Monday’s celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of BMW Motorsport talent promotion.

The BMW and MINI Driving Experience in Maisach, that had turned 40 years in 2017 as well, was the venue for the anniversary event, at which the heroes from the early days met BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt, as well as graduates and the current crop of drivers on the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. The guests included Jochen Neerpasch, the first managing director of BMW Motorsport GmbH and founder of the first BMW Junior Team in 1977, as well as Eddie Cheever and Marc Surer, two of the BMW Motorsport Juniors from that time.

Read more

It was the first time in German automobile racing that a manufacturer had put together a team consisting solely of juniors. This long tradition makes BMW stand out from other manufacturers involved in motorsport. Ever since the pioneering efforts of Jochen Neerpasch, the promotion of young drivers has been one of the central pillars of the BMW Motorsport philosophy, and is now more important than ever.

Read more
BMW Junior Programm
I was lucky to benefit from BMW Motorsport’s talent promotion programme. It is incredible to see how many big names the programme has produced over the decades.
Timo Glock, BMW DTM driver

The day began with a round of discussions, during which the different generations chatted about their personal experience of BMW Motorsport talent promotion. Neerpasch, Cheever and Surer spoke of their time in the BMW Junior Team and what made the “Wilder Reiter GmbH” so special. They also listened carefully to today’s Juniors, and offered valuable advice.

Among those present was Jesse Krohn, who successfully graduated from the programme as “BMW Motorsport Junior of the Year 2014” and is now a permanent fixture in the BMW GT driver line-up. He was joined by this year’s BMW Motorsport Juniors, Beitske Visser, Ricky Collard, Mikkel Jensen, Dennis Marschall and Nico Menzel. Joel Eriksson was unable to take part, as he was in action at the famous Formula 3 Grand Prix in Macau.

Read more
Without that support, I would possibly never have made it into Formula 1. I am very grateful for that time, and look back fondly upon it.
Sebastian Vettel, four-time Formula 1 world champion

As well as interviews and video recordings, the anniversary event focussed primarily on a photo shoot with the historic BMW 320 Group 5, with which the first BMW Junior Team caused such a stir in 1977, as well as the BMW M6 GT3 and the BMW M4 GT4 – the two cars the current BMW Motorsport Juniors are racing with. Surer also completed a number of drift laps in a BMW M car with the current Juniors.

Read more
BMW Nachwuchsförderung
I find it fantastic that BMW Motorsport has continued along the same path we took for the first time back in 1977, in terms of the way they train young drivers. As we were back then, the current crop of Juniors is very proud to be part of the BMW family.
Eddie Cheever, BMW Motorsport Junior 1977

Over the course of the past four decades, the BMW concept for promoting youngsters has produced numerous successful racing drivers, who have won races and titles in a wide range of series around the world. They include well-known drivers such as four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel, as well as current BMW works drivers Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk.

Read more

Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Direktor:

“40 years of BMW Motorsport talent promotion – this anniversary is a very special one for all of us at BMW Motorsport. With his idea, Jochen Neerpasch laid the foundations for something that has has accompanied us ever since and proven itself right through to today. When you look around the international motorsport scene, you find numerous drivers who came into contact with BMW Motorsport’s talent promotion programme in the early stages of their career.”

Read more