BMW Motorsport supports
touring car talents.

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Talent promotion at BMW Motorsport.

BMW has a long history of developing young drivers, which stretches as far back as the late 1970s. From Formula 2 and the BMW Junior Team, to the Formula BMW Talent Cup: An overview of each of the eras.

BMW Junior Team

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In 1977, the BMW 3.0 CSL coupé dominated the European touring car scene. In 1977, Jochen Neerpasch, managing director of the newly founded BMW Motorsport GmbH since 1972, pioneered the "BMW Junior Team" development programme. This programme was not limited to the German market. Alongside Manfred Winkelhock, the first team included Marc Surer (Switzerland), Eddie Cheever (America), and Bruno Giacomelli (Italy).

The junior drivers mainly raced a BMW 320i according to Group 5 regulations on the touring car scene. However, almost all of the drivers took part in Formula 2, with great success. Cheever, supported by BMW, drove a Ralt for Ron Dennis’s team in Formula 2 and finished second in the European championship in 1977, with Giacomelli finishing fourth. The following year the Italian pipped Surer to the post to win the title, with Cheever finishing fourth and Winkelhock ninth. In 1979 Surer claimed the title. The "BMW Junior Team" became the epitome of developing young talent and laid the foundations for BMW’s intensive talent development programme.

1973-1982: Formula 2

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The relaxation of the engine regulations in Formula 2 made the sport more appealing to an increased number of manufacturers as of 1973, including BMW. In the following years, the development of the BMW four-cylinder engine saw it become the measure of all things.

In 1973 Jean-Pierre Jarier secured the championship title in his rookie season. By 1982 drivers with BMW engines had won the European championship a further five times. All of the drivers eventually progressed to Formula 1, which usually incorporated Formula 2 races as part of its weekends.

1991-2001: The "First" Formula BMW

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In 1991 BMW and the ADAC joined forces to develop talent. Numerous racing drivers started their careers here. In the debut year of this cooperation, Christian Abt won the overall standings and the following year Alexander Grau lifted the trophy.

The main objective of the competition was to create a level playing field for drivers and teams with a suitable budget, while sticking to all safety regulations. Successful graduates of the driving school included former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher, who made his debut in Formula Junior in 1992, and Christian Klien. The final title holder in 2001 was Timo Glock, who now drives for BMW’s DTM team.

2002-2010: The "Second" Formula BMW

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For many years Formula BMW was the world leader in entry level formula motor racing. The series took place in Germany, Great Britain, Asia, and the US. At the early age of 15, junior drivers were able to make their mark in motor racing in the FB02, a state-of-the-art identical car.

The talented young drivers proved themselves time and again within the Formula 1 framework. All of the series comprised a diverse training and coaching programme, as well as the development of promising new talent. The most famous graduates of this elite establishment were current Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Nico Hülkenberg, and Daniel Ricciardo, and current BMW DTM driver Marco Wittmann.

From 2005 to 2008 there had been an annual Formula BMW World Final, in which junior drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series competed against each other. Between 2008 and 2010 there also was the Formula BMW Europa.

2011-2013: Formula BMW Talent Cup

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The Formula BMW Talent Cup took place over three seasons. In this educational series, BMW Motorsport systematically introduced talented junior drivers to the requirements of professional motorsport. Driver coaches and race engineers supervised the participants in small groups and worked on everything; from the individual style of driving through to the complete set-up.

In 2011 Stefan Wackerbauer was the very first overall winner, and in 2012 Marvin Dienst secured the top spot at the final in Oschersleben. Robin Hansson of Sweden triumphed in the third season, in 2013.

Former Champions
Year Series Driver
1991 BMW ADAC Formel Junior Cup Christian Abt (DE)
1995 BMW ADAC Formel Junior Cup Dominik Schwager (DE)
1998 BMW ADAC Formel Junior Cup Stefan Mücke (DE)
1999 BMW ADAC Formel Junior Cup André Lotterer (DE)
2001 BMW ADAC Formel Junior Cup Timo Glock (DE)
2002 Formel BMW ADAC Meisterschaft Nico Rosberg (DE)
2003 Formel BMW ADAC Meisterschaft Maximilian Götz (DE)
2003 Formula BMW Asia Ho-Pin Tung (CN)
2004 Formel BMW ADAC Meisterschaft Sebastian Vettel (DE)
2004 Formula BMW Asia Marchy Lee (HK)
2004 Formula BMW USA Andreas Wirth (DE)
2005 Formel BMW ADAC Meisterschaft Nico Hülkenberg (DE)
2005 Formula BMW UK Championship Dean Smith (GB)
2006 Formel BMW Deutschland Christian Vietoris (DE)
2006 Formula BMW Asia Earl Bamber (NZ)
2006 Formula BMW USA Robert Wickens (CA)
2007 Formel BMW Deutschland Jens Klingmann (DE)
2007 Formula BMW UK Championship Marcus Ericsson (SE)
2008 Formula BMW Europe Esteban Gutiérrez (MX)
2008 Formula BMW Americas Alexander Rossi (US)
2009 Formula BMW Europe Felipe Nasr (BR)
2010 Formula BMW Europe Robin Frijns (NL)
2011 Formel BMW Talent Cup Stefan Wackerbauer (DE)
2012 Formel BMW Talent Cup Marvin Dienst (DE)
2013 Formel BMW Talent Cup Robin Hansson (SE)