In the first half of the 2018 training year, the five BMW Motorsport Juniors were in action at many top-class events at the wheel of a wide range of BMW M Motorsport race cars. Ricky Collard (GBR), Mikkel Jensen (DEN), Dennis Marschall (GER), Nico Menzel (GER) and Beitske Visser (NED) raced on tracks throughout Europe – and celebrated impressive successes.
“We are very pleased with the development of our BMW Motorsport Juniors in the 2018 season,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “They are gaining experience in many different series and are leaving a good impression behind wherever they go – whether in the BMW M6 GT3 or the BMW M4 GT4. In the ADAC GT Masters, Mikkel Jensen and Dennis Marschall have already brought home podiums, and the Juniors’ results have also been promising in other areas. In any case, it is clear that our talented youngsters’ intensive training and consistent preparation for more significant tasks is bearing fruit. Jesse Krohn and now our DTM rookie Joel Eriksson have already demonstrated this impressively with their promotion to our squad of works drivers.”
Not one, but two BMW Motorsport Juniors are contesting the top-class ADAC GT Masters with the BMW M6 GT3 in the 2018 season. Jensen and Marschall both finished on the Red Bull Ring (AUT) podium, in second and third, in the fifth race of the season. Jensen shares the cockpit of BMW Team Schnitzer’s #42 BMW M6 GT3 with BMW works driver and two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider (GER). In the driver’s standings, a total of two podiums and other good results see the duo in fifth place. In the #43 BMW M6 GT3, Marschall takes turns at the wheel with the former BMW Motorsport Junior Victor Bouveng (SWE). Jensen currently leads the Junior ADAC GT Masters’ standings.
“My season in the ADAC GT Masters has gone well so far. I can be pleased with both the race results and the performances in qualifying,” said Jensen. “Another highlight was my win in the LMP3 car at the ‘Road to Le Mans’ as part of the 24-hour race at Le Mans. I hope to celebrate further successes in the second half of the season.”
Marschall said: “With the podium at the Red Bull Ring, the breakthrough was made. It was a great feeling. Now I feel very at home in the BMW M6 GT3, and BMW Team Schnitzer is the most professional team I have ever been part of.” In addition to his outings in the BMW M6 GT3, Marschall also spent a weekend driving alongside Visser in the BMW M4 GT4.
Visser and Marschall finished in sixth place in Sunday’s race at Brands Hatch (GBR) at the second race weekend of the GT4 European Series. At the season opener in Zolder (BEL), Visser and Menzel finished in seventh place twice. In Misano (ITA), the two drivers took another seventh place in the race on Sunday. The duo also shared the cockpit of the BMW M4 GT4 with Dirk Adorf (GER) and Tom Coronel (NED) at the 24 Hours Nürburgring (GER).
“We have improved every weekend and the speed is there to fight for the podium,” Visser commented. “Unfortunately we haven’t been too lucky yet, but if we manage to get everything together, we can fight for the podium during the rest of the season. I also got to do my first 24-hour race this year at the Nordschleife which was quite a crazy experience. Driving in the night for the first time, learning that special track – I enjoyed that experience and hoped that I could do more of that kind of races in the future.”
“We might not have made it onto the podium yet, but we have already proven our speed and have firmly established ourselves in the top-five to top-ten of this challenging series,” Menzel agreed. “Now we need to convert the potential that we have shown in some races into results. The upcoming weekends should suit us better. At Brands Hatch and Misano, neither Beitske nor I were familiar with the track, but Spa, the Hungaroring and the Nürburgring are tracks that we know well. We need to keep working as we have been doing, then we should bring home a podium or two this year.”
Collard gained further valuable experience at the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3 with GT appearances. He is also regularly on site at the DTM weekends and drives the BMW M4 DTM Race Taxi. “I have already learned a great deal this year in these fantastic cars,” said Collard. “In particular, the collaboration with the BMW works drivers in GT racing is very useful for me. I am trying to be like a sponge and soak up all the information to improve myself and I see more progress with each weekend. It is also fascinating to be part of the DTM and to drive the BMW M4 DTM Race Taxi. There is so much just learning the procedures and how much goes into such a detailed series. The drivers and teams have such a high standard and while I am there, I try to learn as much as possible. I join the debriefs, look at videos and the data and learn stuff from the engineers – and learn the track when driving the race taxi.”