BMW Motorsport Junior Programme


The BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.


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.


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 and races in the BMW M4 GT4 and the BMW M6 GT3 to “tasters” in the BMW M4 DTM.


This year’s class.

The participants have been confirmed for the 2017 BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. Dennis Marschall and Beitske Visser are the newest members of the line-up, completing the list of talented young drivers that BMW Motorsport will be supporting in the coming months and years. Visser is the first woman to make the leap to the BMW Motorsport youth programme since its restructuring in 2014. Nico Menzel, Ricky Collard and Joel Eriksson are already in their second year of training and were joined by new boy Mikkel Jensen before the season started.

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, including an outing at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Menzel also starts for Walkenhorst Motorsport on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. “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.

For Ricky Collard, the ADAC GT Masters and the Nürburgring-Nordschleife are like a second home in 2017. He is contesting the entire ADAC GT Masters season alongside Philipp Eng in a BMW M6 GT3 run by BMW Team Schnitzer. The duo’s maiden win came at the opening round of the season in Oschersleben. Collard used the start of the VLN season to gain his licence for the “Green Hell”. He then started in the BMW M4 GT4 Media Car at the 24-hour race in May. “I could not have dreamt of competing in a top race series like the ADAC GT Masters for a full season, in my second year as a BMW Motorsport Junior,” says Collard. “To be able to learn at such an experienced team as Schnitzer Motorsport with a top driver like Philipp Eng as well is just fantastic. A young driver could not wish for anything more. I am really looking forward to getting back on the legendary Nordschleife.”

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 is now competing in his second year in the Formula 3 European Championship and has his sights set on the 2017 title following a successful start to the season. 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”. “I am very grateful to BMW Motorsport for the opportunity to continue my development as a racing driver with a major manufacturer“, says Eriksson.

Mikkel Jensen.

At the shootout for potential new Juniors in Miramas, Mikkel Jensen convinced those in charge of BMW Motorsport so effectively that they were confident enough to allow him to compete in the BMW M6 GT3 in his first year as a BMW Motorsport Junior. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, the 22-year-old Danish driver will co-drive with Menzel and the third driver, Christian Krognes, for Walkenhorst Motorsport. Jensen won the ADAC Formel Masters title in 2014 and has competed in the Formula 3 European Championship for the last two years. “I am proud of having made the leap to the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme,” says Jensen. “I managed the new BMW M4 GT4 very well in the shootout. It is unbelievable to get the chance to gather experience in the BMW M6 GT3 right from the start.”

Dennis Marschall.

20-year-old Dennis Marschall celebrated his first major racing successes in the 2014 ADAC Formel Masters, winning three races and finishing in sixth place overall. He switched to touring car racing in 2015 to compete in the Audi Sport TT Cup, part of the DTM race weekends. He came to attention there with third and second places overall in his two seasons. Marschall is making his ADAC GT Masters debut in the 2017 season. He is also a sponsored candidate for the Deutsche Post Speed Academy, whose jury members include BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt and BMW DTM driver Timo Glock. “I am really looking forward to this opportunity,” says Marschall. “In this first year, my primary goal is settle into the BMW Motorsport family. And of course I cannot wait for my first competitive races in the BMW cars.”

Beitske Visser.

22-year-old Dutch driver Beitske Visser is the first woman to join the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. She has been driving in the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series for the last three years, one of the most competitive junior series in formula racing. In 2013, she was a member of the Junior Team at BMW Motorsport Premium Partner Red Bull. She is now making the move to GT and touring car racing as a BMW Motorsport Junior. “I am proud to be part of the BMW Motorsport family now,” says Visser. “I hope that this support programme will help me to become a professional racing driver.”
BMW Motorsport Junior Programme
“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 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 and Eddie Cheever. 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.


The new BMW M4 GT4 is one of the training cars used in the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. With this new car, which was developed from scratch based on the BMW M4 Coupé, BMW Motorsport is able to offer its customers the ideal racing car for the booming GT4 class from 2018 onwards.


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.