Munich. With Christmas abutting rapidly, BMW Junior Aggregation can attending aback on an active aboriginal year of training. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) accept affected the challenges befuddled up by the pandemic, which could not accept been advancing at the alpha of the year, accept developed calm as a team, and accept accomplished abundant antic success. What started with a training affected with Formula Medicine in January accomplished its aerial point with chic achievement in the BMW M4 GT4 at the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER). BMW Junior Aggregation and its coach Jochen Neerpasch are now attractive advanced to dispatch up to the BMW M6 GT3 abutting season.
More than 40 years afterwards the aboriginal bearing in 1977, the iconic BMW Junior Aggregation fabricated its improvement in 2020. As it was aback then, the ambition this time was to accompany three adolescent drivers calm to anatomy a able team, which would account a activity out on the track. Aback in the fold, as he was in 1977, is Jochen Neerpasch. The architect of the aboriginal BMW Junior Aggregation has followed the development of Harper, Hesse and Verhagen actual carefully in contempo months – admitting the COVID-19 pandemic, which airish a above claiming for the programme organisers.
The actuality that BMW Junior Team’s aboriginal year was still a huge success is article that Neerpasch believes should not be taken for granted: “Firstly, a big acclaim and acknowledge you goes to anybody who was complex in organising the programme. Adjoin the accomplishments of the pandemic, it was far from accessible to apparatus the plan that we had developed for BMW Junior Aggregation at the alpha of the year. It is alone acknowledgment to charge and actual acceptable accord aural the accomplished aggregation that we still managed to cull it off.” Dirk Adorf additionally fabricated a above addition to this success. Like Neerpasch, he was consistently on duke to accommodate mentoring abutment and admonition for the three Juniors.
From a antic point of view, Neerpasch gave BMW Junior Aggregation a actual acceptable report. “Despite the arduous conditions, BMW Junior Aggregation performed actual able-bodied and absolutely met all our expectations. It was important to see how alluringly the aggregation formed calm and consistently bigger their antic performances. You could say that they anesthetized their assay with the chic achievement at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.”
The highlight – chic achievement at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
BMW Junior Aggregation anesthetized its ‘exam’ with achievement in the BMW M4 GT4 in the SP8T chic at the ability archetypal at the end of September – the highlight of the aboriginal year of training, which had started with a two-month fettle and brainy training affected at Formula Medicine in Viareggio (ITA). That is area the foundations were laid for a acknowledged division of racing. “At the alpha of the year, I did not apperceive what would anticipate me, as it was the aboriginal time I had confused abroad from home. However, we got on able-bodied from day one and were on the aforementioned amicableness as a team,” said Harper, accretion up the time spent in Tuscany. The leash should absolutely accept confused beeline into a aggregate abode at the Nürburgring anon afterwards the camp, but that was adjourned to June due to the pandemic. “It was acutely a abashment that we were not able to go antagonism beeline afterwards our fettle affected due to the pandemic,” said Harper. “However, we did a lot of sim antagonism during that time, which was abundant fun.”
Back in January, BMW Motorsport offered BMW Junior Aggregation the befalling to appointment the 24-hour chase at Daytona (USA) and to acquaintance at aboriginal duke what it agency to challenge an ability chase with BMW. That was actual acceptable alertness for their aboriginal chase outing, which came with the alpha of the division in the Nürburgring Ability Series (NLS) at the end of June. BMW Junior Aggregation acclimatized actual bound to the specific challenges airish to antagonism drivers by the ‘Green Hell’. In alone their third chase of the season, Harper and Verhagen took chic achievement in the BMW M240i Racing. Abutting was a aboriginal airing in the BMW M4 GT4, in which BMW Junior Aggregation connected to apprentice bound and ultimately accomplished 19th overall, aboriginal in their class, and as the best-placed non-GT3 car at the 24-hour chase – all admitting afflicted acclimate conditions, which alike acquired the organisers to append antagonism during the night. “The acclimate altitude at the 24-hour chase were apparently the craziest I accept anytime experienced,” said Harper. “The actuality that we eventually won our chic in advantageous appearance is article my team-mates and I, and the absolute team, are actual appreciative of.”
A aggregation – both on and off the track.
Verhagen additionally looks aback actual absolutely on the season. “A big acknowledge you goes to anybody who accurate us so able-bodied this year and fabricated it article actual special. It absolutely was fantastic. I am actual blessed that we accomplished aggregate we capital to accomplish in our aboriginal year. Aback you accede how arduous the communicable fabricated this year, our programme absolutely went appreciably well.” As able-bodied as the antic success, Hesse is additionally agog to emphasise the accent for his claimed development. “The year was actual accelerated and interesting. Personally, I accept abstruse an absurd bulk and we accept developed badly as a team. Active calm with Dan and Neil on a circadian abject has absolutely helped me develop, both as a antagonism disciplinarian and a person. I am actual beholden for that.”
BMW Junior Aggregation additionally placed abundant accent on the accent of not alone antagonism calm in the aforementioned car, but additionally developing a absolute aggregation spirit and alive as one unit. “I had actual aerial expectations, abnormally aback it comes to teamwork, but the Juniors absolutely exceeded them,” said Neerpasch. “They acquaint actual able-bodied with anniversary other, and abutment one addition superbly. That should not be taken for accepted and, to be honest, we accept been a little advantageous that it has formed out so well.”
As able-bodied as active calm in one house, collective activities such as clue canicule with BMW Esports aggregation FNATIC and Marc Surer, a affiliate of the actual aboriginal BMW Junior Team, in best and modern-day chase cars additionally contributed to the acceptable aggregation spirit. To accord BMW Junior Aggregation article to anticipate about added than motor antagonism and training, the leash accustomed a appointment from TikTok and Instagram stars Sky&Tami.
Step up to the BMW M6 GT3 in year two.
Harper, Hesse and Verhagen will absorb New Year at home with their families. However, the abutting challenges are aloof about the corner. As anon as the communicable allows it, the BMW Junior Aggregation will acknowledgment to Formula Medicine to adapt for the antagonism season. Once that starts, the Juniors will move aback into their aggregate abode at the Nürburgring. However, the plan is additionally for the leash to absorb added time abreast the BMW Motorsport abject in Munich (GER) in its additional year of training.
At the racetrack, BMW Junior Aggregation is set to booty the footfall up to the BMW M6 GT3. From the aperture chase of the NLS season, Harper, Hesse and Verhagen will go arch to arch with the best GT drivers on the Nordschleife in the top class. “I am absolutely attractive advanced to antagonism adjoin the ‘big boys’ in the aforementioned class,” said Hesse. “In my opinion, the best important affair in our aboriginal year was to adapt as able-bodied as accessible for what awaits us in 2021 with the about-face to a GT3 car. I anticipate we accept done a absolutely acceptable job.” Verhagen sees the bearings similarly. “Hopefully we can accept some success afresh in the BMW M6 GT3 abutting year. I can hardly delay to get activity again.”
When the time comes, Neerpasch will be there again, befitting a abutting eye on whether BMW Junior Aggregation can abide its absolute development. He believes they can now apprehend addition aspect of the training – article that did not comedy such a above role in the aboriginal year – burden to perform. However, “Based on what they accept accomplished this year, I am assured that they will administer the about-face to the BMW M6 GT3 and canyon their masters’ assay at abutting year’s 24-hour race.”