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New year of training for BMW Junior Team: BMW Team RMG to run the BMW M6 GT3 on the Nordschleife.
22.01.2021 Press Release
New year, new challenges: BMW Junior Team is continuing its training in 2021 and, after successful outings in the BMW M240i Racing and the BMW M4 GT4, is now stepping up into the GT3 class. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) will contest the full race season on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER), including the 24-hour race, in the BMW M6 GT3.
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Munich. New year, new challenges: BMW Junior Team is continuing its training in 2021 and, after successful outings in the BMW M240i Racing and the BMW M4 GT4, is now stepping up into the GT3 class. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) will contest the full race season on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER), including the 24-hour race, in the BMW M6 GT3. The car will be run by BMW Team RMG which, after years of success in the DTM, now flies the flag for BMW Motorsport in GT racing. This year begins just as the last one did for the BMW Junior Team - with a mental and fitness training camp at Formula Medicine.
This week, Harper, Hesse and Verhagen travel to Viareggio (ITA), in compliance with all valid pandemic regulations, where they will spend roughly ten weeks improving their physical and mental performance. The Juniors will build on the knowledge they acquired during their stay at Formula Medicine in 2020. Exactly one year ago, we started from scratch with our specific training for the three Juniors. It is different this time, as we are already starting from a very good basis,” said Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli, head of Formula Medicine and mentor to the BMW Junior Team. “Our goal for the next stage of the training is to achieve the same level as we did at our last camp, both physically and mentally, as we return from the winter break. That should not take long at all. We will then go further in the second step. In dialogue with the Juniors, we will use the racing experience from last season to analyse any possible weaknesses, and then work on them individually. This is particularly important, as any weaknesses have a far greater effect in a GT3 car than they would in less powerful cars. In a third step, we will introduce a newly-developed combined training, which will primarily promote mental strength under great physical strain. We call it psycho-physical training.” As well as to increase physical and mental performance, the goal of the whole camp is to generate as detailed data as possible, which the Juniors can use to train over the course of the season – either personally, or on a new online platform, which is currently in its test phase.
After the training camp and a planned visit to BMW Motorsport in Munich (GER), BMW Junior Team will return home to the Nürburgring at the end of March to contest the start of the season in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. The first race with the BMW M6 GT3 on the Nordschleife is scheduled for 27th March. The exact programme will depend on how the pandemic develops.
BMW Team RMG accompanies BMW Junior Team.
One thing is certain - BMW Team RMG will run the BMW M6 GT3 for the BMW Junior Team. Team principal Stefan Reinhold’s outfit enjoyed great success with BMW during its nine years in the DTM, during which time it won the Team competition once and the Drivers’ Championship twice. The team from Andernach (GER) will now drive the development of the BMW M4 GT3 as it enters its final phase, and will also accompany BMW Junior Team on the next level of its training. As well as looking after the BMW M6 GT3 technically at all NLS races, the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the qualification race, another focus is on the operational collaboration between the Juniors and the engineers. The programme includes intensive briefings and debriefings for all races, including data analysis, at the team headquarters in Andernach.
“Working with young drivers is always very interesting and the Juniors proved last year already, that they are very professional,” said Reinhold. “I am confident that we will benefit greatly from each other. We can help them with our experience and expertise, just as they can help us by bringing new perspectives to the team. Our approach has not changed. As we did in the DTM, we want to show the greatest degree of professionalism to get the maximum potential from the drivers and the cars. For this reason, regular meetings here in Andernach, both before and after the races, will become the normal routine for the Juniors. Fortunately, nowhere is too far away in the Eifel region.”
Reinhold and BMW Team RMG are delighted to be working together with BMW Motorsport in GT racing. “It is something I’ve always wanted to do, because I come from a GT background and the Nürburgring. In recent years, however, it has never been possible to put together such a programme parallel to the DTM, for scheduling reasons. Our tasks for 2021 are very diverse, with the BMW Junior Team races and the development work on the BMW M4 GT3, and are really motivating the whole team.”
Great anticipation among Harper, Hesse and Verhagen.
As well as the races, Harper, Hesse and Verhagen will also familiarise themselves with other aspects of BMW and motorsport over the course of the year. These include internships and workshops. As in their first year of training, sim racing and social media will continue to play important roles. Exact details will be revealed at a later date.
“It was nice to have a few months off, but I am now really looking forward to seeing Max and Neil again, and to starting our pre-season preparations with them at Formula Medicine. We had a great time there last year,” said Harper. Hesse adds, “All our preparations are aimed at enjoying a similar level of success at the racetrack to that of 2020. This includes the hard work at Formula Medicine and learning the BMW M6 GT3 manual, so that we are already very familiar with all the functions before the first test. It is fantastic to be working with a team like RMG, with all its DTM experience, during the season. I am sure that we can learn a lot from the way they work, just as we did from the other teams who looked after our race outings in 2020. It is also fantastic that the team headquarters are so close to the Nürburgring.”
Verhagen is also excited about the new season: “The step up to the BMW M6 GT3 will undoubtedly be a big challenge for us, as it means we will be racing against the best GT drivers in the world. However, when it comes to improving our skills so that we can enjoy success again this season, we are in safe hands at BMW Team RMG. I cannot wait to finally get started.”