BMW Juniors Dan Harper, Max Hesse, and Neil Verhagen in the #44 M6 GT3 run by BMW Team RMG won round four of the 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series on June 26. With their victory in the four-hour enduro Harper (20), Hesse (19), and Verhagen (20) became the youngest-ever winning team in the series.
Hesse qualified the car second on the grid. Verhagen started the race and kept the car in the top three. Hesse, the third of the three juniors to get into the car, set a number of laps five seconds quicker than his closest rivals. At the two-hour mark, the team received a drive through penalty for a collision at the start. It was set back by the penalty, but recovered, with Harper taking the lead with about an hour-and-a-half remaining. He held on for the win, holding off a challenge from the Vincent Kolb/Frank Stippler Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS. The Audi took the lead briefly after both cars pitted with forty minutes remaining, but Harper soon regained the lead and held on for the win.
Jochen Neerpasch, who is mentoring the Juniors, said “That was a fantastic race. In the 24-hour race the boys showed that they belong in the top class. However, they graduated in style here today. It was an outstanding performance. It was not gifted to them, but was a very tough race. The way they withstood the pressure was impressive. That is by no means a matter of course at this young age. The BMW Juniors have shown once again how well they work together as a team.”
The Juniors will run again on the Nordschleife on July 10–11, when the NLS runs races five and six of its 2021 season.—Brian Morgan
[Photo courtesy BMW Motorsport.]