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BMW Revives Junior Team; Names Drivers for 2020

Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen named to new BMW driver development program…

Photo: Martin Hangen/BMW

After nearly a 40-year absence, BMW has revived its Junior Team scheme, naming Dan Harper, Max Hesse and American Neil Verhagen to the driver development program for 2020.

The drivers will compete in a “holistic, first-class intensive training program” designed to cover two seasons, which will be under the mentorship of Jochen Neerpasch, who founded the first Junior Team in 1977.

The team will start its training program this week when they move into a shared apartment in Italy, close to Formula Medicine, where they will undergo a training camp on physical and mental training. 

It will be followed by on-track training at the Nürburgring that will include racing various BMW machinery, from the new BMW M2 CS Racing to BMW M4 GT4 and BMW M6 GT3, in the NLS (formerly VLN) championship as well as the Nürburgring 24 in May.

“The rebirth of the legendary BMW Junior Team after more than 40 years is something very special to us here at BMW Motorsport, all the more since we were able to secure the founder of the then BMW Junior Team and of BMW Motorsport GmbH, Jochen Neerpasch, as one of the mentors for the new generation,” said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt.

“This sees tradition and future meet in what is a perfect configuration from our perspective.

Neerpasch added: “I know from experience that young drivers learn a lot more quickly when they act as a team rather than just battling for themselves.

“It was on this basis that, in collaboration with those in charge at BMW Motorsport, the idea of reviving the BMW Junior Team came into being.”

The trio making up the new Junior Team arrive with varying levels of experience in the motorsports world.

Harper, 19, won the British Porsche Carrera Cup title last year while 18-year-old Hesse was the TCR Germany champion, with Verhagen, also 18, having finished sixth in the hotly contested British F3 championship.

In addition to Neerpasch, the drivers will receive mentorship from BMW factory drivers Phillip Eng and Dirk Adorf, who will act as the primary advisor for the Nürburgring portion of the program.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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