Erik Johansson, 22, from Sweden, is the new 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior. He emerged as the winner after a simulator shootout among the top four contenders in a comprehensive three-day program of physical, mental and communication tests that had begun with sixteen participants. The program was judged by long-time BMW Junior mentor Dirk Adorf and Philipp Eng, a former Junior who is now a factory racer.
Johansson, who has won titles in single-seater racing, drove an M235i Racing on the Nordschleife at the Nurburgring in 2016. As part of his ongoing training and coaching experience he will drive an M6 GT3 in the Italian GT Championship in 2019, beginning on April 5 at Monza.
BMW has focused the program on fewer participants than it had in past years. At present, third-year BMW Junior Beitske Visser will serve as a test and back-up driver in the BMW iFE.18 in the Formula E Series, will participate in the shootout for the W Series, the new formula car series for women that will serve as a support race on DTM weekends, and will drive the M6 GT3 in selected races. Mikkel Jensen has been promoted from the BMW Junior ranks to become a factory driver for BMW in endurance races.
BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said, “Congratulations, Erik Johansson. He follows in the footsteps of our current works driver and former Junior, Joel Eriksson, as the second Swede to be accepted onto the BMW Motorsport Junior Program. Erik came through our reshaped selection procedure against the other impressive candidates. I am particularly pleased that we managed to successfully stage a shoot-out like that in our race simulator. I would now like to welcome Erik to the BMW Motorsport family and look forward to seeing him on the track in the BMW M6 GT3 soon.”—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW AG.]