The BMW Junior Team enters its third year in 2022, and will be in action on two fronts with the BMW M4 GT3. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) will team up with BMW M Team RMG at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER), as they look to challenge for overall victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. More highlights await the trio in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. There, the BMW Junior Team and ROWE Racing will contest five endurance races, with the highlight being the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL). At the wheel of the second ROWE Racing BMW M4 GT3 will be BMW M works drivers Nick Catsburg (NED), Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Nick Yelloly (GBR).
“The term BMW Junior Team has become a legendary one, even outside of BMW M Motorsport. I am very pleased that we have been able to add new chapters to this legend since 2020,” said Franciscus van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH and one of the mentors of the current BMW Junior Team. “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. I find it particularly fascinating how the current success sees the project come full circle since the founding of the first BMW Junior Team in 1977, thanks to Jochen Neerpasch’s initiative. Even after so many decades, Mr Neerpasch remains a great asset and inspiration for BMW M Motorsport.”
Neerpasch says: “The BMW Junior Team has successfully completed its apprenticeship on the Nordschleife for the past two years. 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.”
Harper, Hesse and Verhagen are currently with Formula Medicine in Viareggio (ITA), where they are preparing physically and mentally for the season ahead. They are living together in one house there, as they will do at the Nürburgring again after the GT World Challenge Europe test at the start of March. This is to ensure they are as close as possible to the racetrack and BMW M Team RMG ahead of the start of the season. The first race in the BMW M4 GT3 will be the opening round of the Nürburgring Endurance Series on 26th March – followed by the first race in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup at Imola (ITA) on 3rd April. The focus will then switch fully to the Nordschleife until the 24-hour race on 28th/29th May. The GT World Challenge season continues at the start of June at Le Castellet (FRA). This is followed by the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the final two races at Hockenheim (GER) and Barcelona (ESP). Base camp for the BMW Junior Team for the second half of the season will be Viareggio.
The team responsible for the BMW M4 GT3 that the BMW Junior Team will drive in the GT World Challenge Europe is ROWE Racing. Team principal Hans-Peter Naundorf’s outfit will compete with a second BMW M4 GT3, driven by BMW M works drivers Nick Catsburg, Augusto Farfus and Nick Yelloly. ROWE Racing will also start with two BMW M4 GT3 and a strong contingent of BMW M works drivers at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The detailed driver line-up will be announced shortly.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, team principal ROWE Racing: “We are very happy to go into the 2022 season of the GT World Challenge Europe with such a strong squad of drivers. 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. 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. As such, the logical next step in their career is to move up into an international racing series. 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 am 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.”
Stefan Reinhold, team principal BMW M Team RMG: “After last year’s intensive test work, my whole team is now looking forward to going up against the strong opposition at the Nürburgring with the BMW M4 GT3. We know the car well and are confident that we will quickly become competitive on the Nordschleife. Despite that, it is obviously still a new car, so the preparatory races are extremely important for us, in order to prepare as well as possible for the big highlight – the 24-hour race. The expectations for our home race are very high. The collaboration with the BMW Junior Team is working excellently. In our second year together, we are a well-coordinated team, and the guys have huge potential as drivers. If we can work together to convert that into performance at the circuit, we can compete at the very front. Victory at our home race is still missing from the BMW M Team RMG collection.”
Dan Harper: “The programme looks great! It is fantastic to return to the Nordschleife with BMW M Team RMG, and this time to do battle for overall victory in the 24-hour race. In the GT World Challenge Europe, I will get to know five circuits that are totally new to me. I am really looking forward to that. The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will obviously be a highlight, and it is great to be working with such an experienced and winning team there as ROWE Racing. Lining up against three experienced BMW M works drivers in the same team will be a very special challenge.”
Max Hesse: “Our third year as the BMW Junior Team is going to be exciting, as a new car and a new race schedule await us. We have already gained some initial experience of the BMW M4 GT3 and are currently in Viareggio preparing for the start of the season. We already know BMW M Team RMG well and I am sure we will work well together on the Nordschleife again. I am really looking forward to working with our new partner team ROWE Racing and, of course, to the races in a fantastic series like the GT World Challenge Europe. We really wanted to race in this series. Thank you to BMW M Motorsport for the faith they are putting in us!”
Neil Verhagen: “We have been preparing intensively, both physically and mentally, for weeks now, in order to be top fit come the start of the season. We can now hardly wait to get back out on track for the first tests. Our big goal for the Nordschleife is to challenge for overall victory in the 24-hour race. The GT World Challenge Europe with ROWE Racing is going to be a fantastic new experience for us. We are learning new racetracks and will go wheel to wheel with the best GT drivers in the world. I am sure we will learn an awful lot there.”