Effective and individual: the 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior programme.

BMW:Effective and individual: the 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior programme.

Munich. The promotion of young drivers enjoys a long tradition
at BMW Motorsport, dating back more than 40 years. During this time,
the junior programme has uncovered many talented youngsters who have
gone on to make a name for themselves on the motor racing scene. A
slight change to the concept means that the BMW Motorsport Junior
programme is even more efficient in 2019. In the future, the
programme will focus on fewer drivers to make the support they are
offered even more effective and tailored to their individual needs.
Beitske Visser (NED) is entering her third year on the programme and
will primarily gain experience in Formula racing. A shoot-out in a
simulator will determine a new member of the BMW Motorsport Junior
programme from the many candidates for the position. Mikkel Jensen
(DEN) has been promoted to BMW works driver and will undertake a
high-class GT programme.

 

“Promoting talented youngsters is, and will remain, one of the
pillars of our motorsport portfolio,” said BMW Motorsport Director
Jens Marquardt. “We are delighted that, in Mikkel Jensen, a third BMW
Motorsport Junior has made the step up into our works programme within
just a few years. This underlines the success of our youth development
and proves how effective it is and what a great springboard it can be.
In the case of Beitske Visser, we see very good prospects in Formula
racing in her third year on the programme, during which she will be
used as test and reserve driver in Formula E. She is also taking part
in the selection process for the new W Series. I am also looking
forward to being able to welcome a new Junior onto our programme in
the near future. I am excited about our first shoot-out in a race
simulator. We are forging new paths in this regard to better address
the demands of modern motor racing.”

The promotion of young drivers celebrated its 40th
anniversary in 2017. Back in 1977, BMW Motorsport GmbH launched the
BMW Junior Team, an initiative of managing director Jochen Neerpasch.
That was the first time in German car racing that a factory had
fielded a team made up solely of young drivers. Since then, the
responsibility for promoting talented youngsters has been firmly
anchored at BMW Motorsport, and the objective has not changed in over
40 years: to comprehensively prepare young drivers for the demands of
international motor racing and for a possible career as a BMW works driver.

The goal of the concept, which has been tweaked for the coming
season, is to offer each Junior an even more attractive programme of
racing and to integrate them even more closely in the works and
customer racing programmes. This will provide the best chance of
developing more Juniors into BMW works drivers and maintaining the
good success rate of recent years.

Mikkel Jensen to drive the BMW M6 GT3 at numerous classics.

Mikkel Jensen is the third former BMW Motorsport Junior to become a
permanent member of the works programme in 2019, following in the
footsteps of Jesse Krohn (FIN) and Joel Eriksson (SWE). His race
calendar features a host of major GT races. He will contest the entire
season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge in a Walkenhorst
Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, alongside BMW works driver Nick Catsburg (NED)
and Christian Krognes (NOR). Another classic on his schedule is the
Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER).

Beitske Visser completed her first test in the BMW iFE.18 at the
opening round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship at the end of
2018. She will be test and reserve driver for the entire season.
Visser is also taking part in the shoot-out for the W Series, the
first Formula series for women. This season, the races in the W Series
will share the bill with the DTM. Following her success in the BMW M4
GT4 last year, she will step up a class of GT car in 2019 and drive
the BMW M6 GT3 at selected races.

New candidates to attend simulator shoot-out.

A selection process to decide a new participant on the BMW Motorsport
Junior programme will be held in Munich (GER) from 4th to
6th February. A programme of physical and mental tests, run
by Formula Medicine, will help whittle down a group of about 20
candidates to the up to five most promising youngsters. They will then
demonstrate their skills in a shoot-out. For the first time, this
shoot-out will not be held in a BMW race car, but in the BMW
Motorsport simulator, thus better addressing the demands of modern
motor racing. One new BMW Motorsport Junior will be selected from the
finalists. As well as mental, fitness and media training, they will
also contest the full season in the Italian GT Championship in a BMW
M6 GT3 run by BMW Team Italia.

The candidates for this year’s selection procedure include many young
BMW customer racing drivers who have caught the eye with their
impressive performances at the wheel of BMW customer racing cars. In
recognition of their efforts, BMW Motorsport is offering them the
opportunity to prove themselves and possibly make it onto the BMW
Motorsport Junior programme.

Dirk Adorf has been supporting the BMW Motorsport Juniors as a mentor
since 2014. Between 2012 and 2014, the BMW works driver was partly
responsible for the BMW Talent Cup, alongside his race schedule. Adorf
also enjoys regular work as a TV presenter and race official. “The
promotion of talented youngsters in motorsport is very close to my
heart and I am proud to have been a permanent part of the BMW
Motorsport Junior programme since it was restructured,” said Adorf. “I
am extremely excited about the candidates for our new selection
procedure, as we have participants from all over the world, who are
coming to Munich to seize their opportunity to claim a place in the
class of 2019. With my own motorsport background, I am particularly
pleased that we are able to offer a few young BMW customer racing
drivers the opportunity to show what they are capable of.”

BMW works driver Philipp Eng to assist with selection procedure.

Alongside Adorf, BMW works driver Philipp Eng (AUT) will also offer
his appraisal, following intensive discussions with the candidates.
Eng arrives in Munich as the newly-crowned winner of the 24 Hours of
Daytona (USA), where he won the GTLM class in a BMW M8 GTE alongside
Augusto Farfus (BRA), Connor De Phillippi (USA) and Colton Herta
(USA). Eng already has already won the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
(BEL) twice for BMW in the BMW M6 GT3. In 2019, he enters his second
season as a BMW DTM driver, having ended the first season as the
year’s top rookie. Eng is a former BMW Motorsport Junior. He competed
in Formula BMW and won the Formula BMW World Final in Valencia (ESP)
in 2007. In 2017, he enjoyed great success in the ADAC GT Masters
alongside Ricky Collard (GBR), himself a BMW Motorsport Junior at the time.

The following BMW Motorsport Juniors have made the step up to
BMW works driver in recent years:

Jesse Krohn.

BMW Motorsport Junior from 2014 to 2016.

2018 and 2019 BMW works driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Joel Eriksson.

BMW Motorsport Junior from 2016 to 2017.

2018 and 2019 BMW works driver in the DTM.

Mikkel Jensen.

BMW Motorsport Junior from 2017 to 2018.

2019 BMW works driver in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Selection of successful graduates from the BMW youth
development programme:

Sebastian Vettel.

1st place Formula BMW ADAC Championship 2004

Formula 1 world champion 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013

Nico Rosberg.

1st place Formula BMW ADAC Championship 2002

Formula 1 world champion 2016

Marco Wittmann.

2nd place Formula BMW Europa 2008

DTM champion with BMW Motorsport 2014 and 2016

Martin Tomczyk.

2nd place BMW ADAC Formula Junior Cup 1998

DTM champion 2011

Philipp Eng.

1st place Formula BMW World Final 2007

1st place 24h Spa-Francorchamps 2016 and 2018

1st place GTLM class 24h Daytona 2018

Nico Hülkenberg.

1st place Formula BMW ADAC Championship 2005

1st place 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015

Original Press Release