BMW Motorsport Junior Programme

ON THE UP.

The BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

ON THE UP.

The BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

On the up. The BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

The promotion of young racing drivers enjoys a long tradition at BMW. It stretches back to 1977 and celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. From the first BMW Junior Team, through Formula BMW, to the new BMW Motorsport Junior Programme, which was launched in 2014: few other manufacturers have devoted so much time and effort to talented youngsters as BMW. Many of them have enjoyed big careers, including DTM stars Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock, not to mention Formula One world champions Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

THE BASIS FOR SUCCESS.

BMW Motorsport is guiding the next generation to the top, step by step.

The focus of the current training programme is on GT and touring car drivers. BMW Motorsport carefully prepares talented youngsters for increasingly high classes of car and racing. In their second and third seasons, the strongest participants are ideally ready to take on the opposition in a GT3 car. The training modules are accompanied by opportunities to familiarise themselves with the current BMW Motorsport race programme: from tests in the BMW M6 GT3 or BMW M6 GTLM to “tasters” in the BMW M4 DTM.

THE 2017 BMW MOTORSPORT JUNIORS.

This year’s class.

An intense and varied year of training lies in store for the BMW Motorsport Juniors. Mikkel Jensen will get to drive the BMW M6 GT3 as a new member of the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. He came through the shootout in Miramas. As well as Jensen, more candidates are currently in the selection process for a place on the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.

Nico Menzel

Nico Menzel.

In his second year as a member of the Junior programme, Nico Menzel will contest the entire season of the Blancpain Endurance Series at the wheel of a Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. This includes an outing at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Menzel will also drive for Walkenhorst Motorsport at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. “What a fantastic race schedule,” said Menzel. “I would like to thank BMW Motorsport and Walkenhorst Motorsport very much for the faith they have put in me. I am really up for this challenge.”
Ricky Collard

Ricky Collard.

The Nürburgring-Nordschleife will be like a second home for Ricky Collard in 2017. He used the opening round of the VLN season to attain his licence for the “Green Hell”. An outing in the BMW M4 GT4 is planned for the 24-hour race in May. “I am really looking forward to being able to gain more experience on the legendary Nordschleife right at the start of the season,” said Collard. “I have always dreamed of driving at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.”
Joel Eriksson

Joel Eriksson.

Joel Eriksson raced in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2016, where he claimed one race win and made ten appearances on the podium in his debut season. He ended the season as the top rookie in fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship. Eriksson now lines up in his second year in the Formula 3 European Championship in 2017. He began his career on the karting circuit in 2007, before switching to Formula racing in 2013. One of his greatest successes to date was victory at the “Zandvoort Masters of Formula 3”.
Mikkel Jensen

Mikkel Jensen.

Mikkel Jensen made such an impression on the powers that be at BMW Motorsport during the shootout between potential new Juniors for the 2017 season that they have entrusted him with a drive in the BMW M6 GT3. The Dane will take his place alongside Menzel and the third driver Christian Krognes for Walkenhorst Motorsport in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Jensen won the ADAC Formula Masters in 2014 and competed in the Formula 3 European Championship in the last two years.
BMW Motorsport Junior Programme
BMW M4 GT4
“Our long-term goal is to field BMW works drivers who have come through our own junior programme in GT3 races.”
Jens Marquardt, BMW Motorsport Director.

BMW TALENT FACTORY.

BMW Motorsport GmbH made a pioneering move in 1977, when it became the first automobile manufacturer to launch a programme promoting talented young racing drivers. The newly-formed BMW Junior Team immediately caused quite a stir, earning a reputation as ‘Wild Riders Ltd’. Join us as we look back at the history of BMW’s junior promotion.

  • BMW Junior Team.
    BMW Junior Team.

    In 1977, the BMW 3.0 CSL Coupé dominated the European touring car scene. In the same year, Jochen Neerpasch, managing director of the BMW Motorsport GmbH at that time, pioneered the "BMW Junior Team" development programme. Alongside Manfred Winkelhock, the first team included Marc Surer, Eddie Cheever, and Bruno Giacomelli. The BMW Junior Team became the epitome of developing young talent and laid the foundations for BMW’s intensive talent development programme.

  • 1973-1982: Formula 2.
    1973-1982: Formel 2.

    The relaxation of the engine regulations in Formula 2 made the sport more appealing to an increased number of manufacturers as of 1973, including BMW. In the following years, the development of the BMW four-cylinder engine saw it become the benchmark. In 1973 Jean-Pierre Jarier secured the championship title. By 1982 drivers with BMW engines had won the European championship a further five times. All of the drivers eventually progressed to Formula 1, which usually incorporated Formula 2 races as part of its weekends.

  • 1991-2001: The "First" Formula BMW.
    1991-2001: The "First" Formula BMW.

    In 1991 BMW and the ADAC joined forces to develop talent. In the debut year of this collaboration, Christian Abt won the overall standings and the following year Alexander Grau lifted the trophy. The main objective of the competition was to create a level playing field for drivers and teams with a suitable budget, while sticking to all the safety regulations. Successful graduates of the driving school included former Formula 1 drivers Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien. The final title holder in 2001 was Timo Glock.

  • 2002-2010: The "Second" Formula BMW.
    2002-2010: The "Second" Formula BMW.

    For many years, Formula BMW was the leading entry-level class in single-seater racing in the world. The series was held in Germany, Great Britain, Asia and the USA, to name a few, and also appeared on the same bill as Formula One. The programme featured a varied training and coaching programme. The best-known graduates include such drivers as Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and BMW DTM driver Marco Wittmann. From 2005 to 2008, a world final was also held at the end of the year.

  • 2011-2013: Formula BMW Talent Cup.
    2011-2013: Formula BMW Talent Cup.

    The Formula BMW Talent Cup took place over three seasons. In this educational series, BMW Motorsport introduced talented junior drivers to the requirements of professional motorsport. Driver coaches and race engineers supervised participants in small groups and worked on everything; from the individual style of driving through to the complete set-up. In 2011 Stefan Wackerbauer was the very first overall winner, and in 2012 Marvin Dienst secured the top spot. Robin Hansson of Sweden triumphed in the third season, in 2013.

GT Highlights.

GT HIGHLIGHTS.

260 km/h through the urban canyons. Through Fuchsröhre and Brünnchen. Flat-out through “Eau Rouge”: the BMW M6 GT3 faces certain challenges that provide that extra boosts of adrenalin. These include the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa, as well as the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.
BMW M6 GT3.

BMW M6 GT3.

The BMW M6 GT3 has been the top model in the BMW Motorsport customer racing line-up since 2016. The car is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology. The power train has dry sump lubrication and generates up to 585 hp – with the whole car weighing less than 1,300 kilograms.