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BMW Junior Team Enters Endurance Cup With ROWE

BMW Junior Team to tackle Endurance Cup, plus factory drivers in ROWE’s other M4 GT3…

Photo: BMW M Motorsport

ROWE Racing has named the driver lineups for its Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup return including an entry for the BMW Junior Team.

The Junior Team trio of Dan Harper, Neil Verhagen and Max Hesse will continue for a third season together in new territory having raced at the Nürburgring Nordschleife during the last couple of years.

They will share the No. 50 ROWE-prepared BMW M4 GT3 in the five-round Endurance Cup season, which includes the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in July.

The other Pro-class ROWE machine will be driven by BMW M Motorsport factory squad members Nicky Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly.

In addition to racing in the Endurance Cup, the BMW Junior Team program will continue to feature at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with support from Team RMG.

The German manufacturer’s young driver mentorship initiative was revived in 2020 by Jochen Neerpasch, who created the original BMW Junior Team involving Eddie Cheever, Manfred Winelhock and Marc Surer in 1977.

Harper, Verhagen and Hesse entered their first Nürburgring 24 together in a BMW M4 GT4 before stepping to the M6 GT3 last year. Their 2021 Nordschleife program included two NLS race wins and two more podiums.

“The term BMW Junior Team has become a legendary one, even outside of BMW M Motorsport,” said BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to add new chapters to this legend since 2020.

“Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen have performed impressively for the past two years and lived up to name ‘BMW Junior Team’. I am certain that they will cause quite a stir again this season at the wheel of the BMW M4 GT3.”

Neerpasch added: “The three lads are now preparing intensively for their biggest test at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. We have high expectations of them. As far as the drivers themselves are concerned, I see the BMW Junior Team on the podium.

“They will also be put to the test in the GT World Challenge Europe.

“They will be driving at racetracks that are new to them, and will be up against the best GT drivers in the world – at ROWE Racing, they will be in direct comparison with established BMW M works drivers.

“It is going to be an eventful season, but I am sure that they will succeed again in the new environment.”

ROWE Racing’s factory-driven lineup for the Endurance Cup season brings together two of the team’s 2020 Nürburgring 24 winners in Yelloly and Catsburg, while Farfus is set for his first appearance with the team run by Motorsport Competence Group.

Catsburg and Farfus were also the 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli champions together.

Catsburg made three Endurance Cup outings last year, with the Dutchman appearing in the HubAuto Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo at Spa before subbing for Timo Glock in one of the Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3s at two rounds. Yelloly was also a substitute driver for Walkenhorst as the team negotiated a pair of DTM date clashes during the 2021 season.

“We are very happy to go into the 2022 season of the GT World Challenge Europe with such a strong squad of drivers,” said ROWE team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf.

“It is going to be an exciting year, with three very experienced BMW M works drivers in one car and the three guys from the BMW Junior Team in the other. That is a perfect mix.

“Nick Catsburg and Nick Yelloly have been among the guarantees of success for our team for a long time, and have emphatically demonstrated their class many times.

“Personally, I’m thrilled to be working with Augusto Farfus for the first time in our seventh year with BMW.

“His success and history with BMW speak volumes and I find it particularly interesting how he still goes about his work with so much joy and enthusiasm.

“We are very proud that BMW M Motorsport has entrusted us with accompanying the next step of the BMW Junior Team this year.

“We followed their positive development last year. They improved consistently and hardly made a mistake at the toughest racetrack in the world so the logical next step in their career is to move up into an international racing series.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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