This year, BMW’s Motorsport driving schools turn 40 and the occasion couldn’t just be ignored by officials in Munich. Therefore a special event was held in Maisach, bringing together people who graduated from the school in the past and eventually wrote history as well as young hopes for the days to come.
The guest list included legends like Jochen Neerpasch, the first managing director of BMW Motorsport GmbH and founder of the first BMW Junior Team in 1977, as well as Eddie Cheever and Marc Surer, two of the BMW Motorsport Juniors from that time. It was the first time in German automobile racing that a manufacturer had put together a team consisting solely of juniors. This long tradition makes BMW stand out from other manufacturers involved in motorsport.
Ever since the pioneering efforts of Jochen Neerpasch, the promotion of young drivers has been one of the central pillars of the BMW Motorsport philosophy, and is now more important than ever. Among those present was Jesse Krohn, who successfully graduated from the program as “BMW Motorsport Junior of the Year 2014” and is now a permanent fixture in the BMW GT driver line-up.
As well as interviews and video recordings, the anniversary event focused primarily on a photo shoot with the historic BMW 320 Group 5, with which the first BMW Junior Team caused such a stir in 1977, as well as the BMW M6 GT3 and the BMW M4 GT4 – the two cars the current BMW Motorsport Juniors are racing with. Surer also completed a number of drift laps in a BMW M car with the current Juniors.
Over the course of the past four decades, the BMW concept for promoting youngsters has produced numerous successful racing drivers, who have won races and titles in a wide range of series around the world. They include well-known drivers such as four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel, as well as current BMW works drivers Timo Glock and Martin Tomczyk.