Erik Johansson is the new BMW Motorsport Junior for 2019 following intensive selection process.

Munich. After an intensive three-day selection procedure, the
decision has been made: Erik Johansson (SWE) has been accepted onto
the 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. The 22-year-old former BMW
Customer Racing driver triumphed over three other candidates in
Wednesday’s shoot-out in the BMW Motorsport simulator. As a reward,
a substantial part of his training programme will see him contest
the entire coming season of the Italian GT Championship at the wheel
of the BMW Team Italia BMW M6 GT3. On Monday and Tuesday, 16
candidates underwent a comprehensive programme of physical, mental
and communication tests. The top four participants then went through
to the simulator shoot-out.


“Congratulations, Erik Johansson,” said BMW Motorsport Director Jens
Marquardt. “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 Programme. 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.”


As well as Johansson, who was introduced to endurance racing in 2016
in the BMW M235i Racing Cup, Benjamin Lessennes (BEL) and two current
BMW Customer Racing drivers, Aaron Seton (AUS) and Ben Tuck (GBR),
were given the opportunity to drive on a virtual racetrack. The
quartet simulated practice sessions, qualifying and a long run.
Supported by a team of BMW Motorsport engineers, the focus was on
driver feedback and data analysis, as well as lap times. Each driver
had several sessions in which to familiarise themselves with the
simulator and the circuit. Johansson ultimately made the best
impression and secured his place on the 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior Programme.


“This is an incredible opportunity for me. At the moment, I really
don’t know what to say,” said Johansson, who, having won titles in
single-seater racing series, made his first appearance on the
Nürburgring-Nordschleife (GER) as a BMW Customer Racing driver in a
Securtal Sorg Rennsport BMW M235i Racing. It was there last year that
he attracted attention with a number of impressive performances in a
GT3 car. “I am really looking forward to driving the BMW M6 GT3 in the
coming months, getting to know the other BMW works drivers, and being
a part of the BMW Motorsport family.”


The first two days of the selection process saw 16 promising young
drivers from all over the world stake their claim to a place on the
BMW Motorsport Junior Programme. For the first time, these also
included a number of candidates who had earned their opportunity
through their performances with BMW Customer Racing teams. The jury
consisted of Dirk Adorf (GER), long-term mentor of the BMW Motorsport
Juniors, and Philipp Eng (AUT), himself a former BMW Motorsport Junior
who made the step up to works driver, with both getting to know the
participants in intense discussions.


“It was a great experience for me to be part of this selection
process,” said Eng. “It was great fun getting to know the guys over
the three days, and accompanying them through the shoot-out. Erik
ultimately won because he is very quick, clever and mature for his
age. That is very important for a successful racing driver.”


The Formula Medicine experts, under the guidance of Dr. Riccardo
Ceccarelli, put the young drivers through a programme of physical and
mental tests. The candidates’ appearances in front of the camera and
on social networks were also evaluated. Adorf and Eng considered all
these aspects when selecting the four candidates who were given the
opportunity to prove themselves in the BMW Motorsport simulator on day three.


The simulator was developed by BMW Motorsport and designed from the
beginning to be multi-functional. It can be used to simulate all BMW
race cars. Work in the simulator plays a crucial role in both the
development of the cars and in pre-race preparations. Shortly before
the juniors’ shoot-out, the BMW i Andretti Motorsport drivers used the
simulator to prepare for the coming Formula E race in Mexico City
(MEX). That meant the young drivers also used the realistic
reproduction of the BMW iFE.18 cockpit for their drives.


“I think the package we put together for the candidates, consisting
of various performance tests, individual discussions and, for the
first time, the simulator drives, worked very well,” said Adorf. “I am
particularly pleased that we had so many young BMW Customer Racing
drivers – current as well as former –, three of whom made it into the
top-four. Their extremely high standard is proof that our decision to
bring the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme significantly closer to BMW
Customer Racing was spot on. Congratulations to our winner, Erik
Johansson, who proved to be the strongest candidate and impressed us
with his speed and his professional approach.”


This season’s Italian GT Championship, in which Johansson will
compete in the BMW M6 GT3, kicks off on 5th April at Monza (ITA).


Note for editors:

You can find video highlights of the 2019 BMW Motorsport Junior
shoot-out at the following link: