The BMW Junior Team is now in its second year of great performances. The youngsters have performed admirably under the supervision of none other than Jochen Neerpasch and have recently competed in the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta. Before heading off back to Europe, the dynamic trio traveled down to Spartanburg to check out the BMW Plant and had a run behind the wheel of the BMW M4 GT3 car from BMW Team RMG.
The trip to the United States began for Harper, Hesse, and Verhagen at the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where they spent the weekend with the BMW works drivers and BMW Team RLL, attended important meetings, and firsthand experienced the processes of a BMW M Motorsports works program. “The relationship with BMW Team RLL and the BMW works drivers taught us a lot,” Hesse said. “It was also fantastic to be a part of the BMW M8 GTE‘s final race and experience the atmosphere at Road Atlanta.”
The BMW Junior Team then traveled to Spartanburg, South Carolina, to see the world’s largest BMW Group plant, where they learned firsthand about the creation of BMW X vehicles. “As we are representing BMW as drivers, it was cool for us to see how production works in the largest plant in the world in Spartanburg,” said Verhagen. “It is huge, and we only saw a small part of it. Hopefully, we will return sometime and check out some other areas. It was really fascinating.”
The BMW Junior Team was next taken to the BMW Car Club of America Foundation, where Harper, Hesse, and Verhagen, together with their mentor Jochen Neerpasch, who accompanied them throughout the trip, saw a fascinating exhibition of antique BMW vehicles and other BMW collectibles. Jochen Neerpasch’s motorsport career was commemorated with a beautiful wall artwork, dubbed “Blue Hero“. The group finished the night with a cookout with Verhagen’s family in Mooresville, South Carolina, near Spartanburg.
For Neerpasch and the Juniors, the trip to the USA marked the end of two years together. “So far, the guys have exceeded the expectations we had of them at the start, which were pretty high anyway,” said Neerpasch. “All that they are missing is experience. They are already setting lap times like those of the top drivers. They need more race outings, and they are sure to get them next season.”