The BMW Junior Team

The legendary BMW Junior Team makes its comeback after more than 40 years. 1977 saw Eddie Cheever, Manfred Winkelhock and Marc Surer cause a stir in the world of motorsport; 2020 sees a new generation of promising talented youngsters compete under the name BMW Junior Team. Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen will undertake a two-season, holistic, high-quality and intensive programme of training, which will set new benchmarks in the promotion of young talent. The concept is built on several pillars: racing, sim racing, mental and fitness training, other training content within the BMW Group, and team building. They are supported by mentors, who are there to advise, train and help them to cope within the environment of a large concern like BMW.


Manfred Winkelhock, Marc Surer and Eddie Cheever


In founding the first development programme for young drivers, BMW Motorsport GmbH was considered a pioneer. Jochen Neerpasch launched a youth programme known as the ‘BMW Junior Team’ in 1977. In the years that followed, the BMW Junior Team became the embodiment of support for talented youngsters and laid the foundation for the intensive youth development at BMW. In the early 90s, BMW and ADAC entered into a joint programme in Formula racing, before Formula BMW established itself as the world’s leading entry-level class in Formula motor racing at the start of the new millennium. In 2014, the BMW Motorsport Junior programme was launched, to allow talented drivers a route into GT racing. The BMW Junior Team now sees BMW Motorsport return to its roots with a unique and innovative concept.


The three current BMW Motorsport Juniors – Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen – are following in big footsteps. Manfred Winkelhock, Marc Surer and Eddie Cheever formed the legendary first BMW Junior Team in 1977. In more than 40 years of promoting youth, BMW has discovered and produced more talented young drivers than almost any other manufacturer. Many of them have gone on to enjoy big careers, like current and former DTM stars Marco Wittmann, Philipp Eng and Martin Tomczyk. However, numerous former Juniors have also made it into Formula 1 via the BMW talent factory. As well as Timo Glock, who now drives for BMW in the DTM, past Formula 1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg have also benefitted from BMW’s promotion of juniors.

BMW 320 Junior Team

” When I formed the first BMW Junior Team in 1977, we at BMW Motorsport were pioneers in the development of young drivers. I am delighted to be back supporting a BMW Junior Team again after more than 40 years. ”

Jochen Neerpasch, founder of the first BMW Junior Team and BMW Motorsport GmbH


The headquarters of the BMW Junior Team is located just a few kilometres from the most iconic racetrack in the world. Dan Harper, Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen live in a shared apartment not far from the Nürburgring-Nordschleife during their two-year training period – and with good reason. The three young drivers will contest the full season of the Nürburgring Endurance Series in different BMW race cars, as well as the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The Nordschleife is the toughest circuit in the world.

At over 20 kilometres in length, the track requires drivers to demonstrate ability, courage and a cool head at all times. However, the spectacular layout is not the only thing that makes the Nordschleife one of the biggest challenges in GT racing. The unpredictable weather in the Eifel region is another major obstacle for the teams and drivers, and has often produced dramatic races in the past.