Motorsport rising star Daniel Harper will be moving up to the highest class in modern GT racing this season as he prepares to race a BMW M6 GT3 during his second season as a manufacturer-backed driver in the BMW Junior Team.
After enjoying a brilliant title victory in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB in 2019, the Northern Irishman was hand-picked by one of the biggest and most successful manufacturers in global motorsport to be part of their exclusive young driver development programme for two years.
Harper went on to enjoy a superb 2020 season with team-mates Max Hesse and Neil Verhagen. Alongside a first class training programme off track, the trio shone on circuit as they got to grips with the iconic 13 mile Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in the Nürburgring Endurance Series.
Starting in a BMW M240i Racing, they impressively recorded a maiden class win on the Nordschleife in only their third race. Further success followed when they stepped up to a BMW M4 GT4, with the highlight being a sensational class victory in their first attempt at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
Harper showed superb speed, race craft and consistency throughout his first season on the Nordschleife, and with that experience under his belt, he’s ready to get behind the wheel of the BMW M6 GT3 for a full 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series season and the 24 Hour race.
The 20 year old will benefit from working alongside the hugely experienced BMW Team RMG this year. Previously multiple title-winners in the DTM series, the team is now driving the development of BMW’s GT3 programme and will run the BMW Junior Team’s car at all events.
Harper has started his 2021 preparations after returning to Formula Medicine in Italy last week, in compliance with all valid pandemic regulations, for a ten week training camp focusing on improving his physical and mental performance ahead of the new campaign.
It’s planned for the BMW Junior Team to return home to the Nürburgring in March for the start of the season. After seeing the final two events of 2020 cancelled due to the pandemic though, the planned test and race programme could change depending on how the pandemic develops.
Daniel Harper: “I’m delighted to be part of the BMW Junior Team once again this year and we’ve got some very exciting plans for the season ahead. Moving into GT3 machinery is a fantastic step for my career, it’s one of the most competitive classes in motorsport and will be a huge challenge for us. Getting up to speed in GT3 will be a steep learning curve, particularly with the pandemic set to limit our testing opportunities before the start of the season, but we’ll be working as hard as possible to be ready and will benefit from our track knowledge gained last year. It’s great to get the chance to work with BMW Team RMG. They are a fantastic team with a great history, and we’ll learn a lot from their expertise and experience. They’re based just outside the Nürburgring too, so we’ll be able to work closely with them between the race events as well. It’s great to be back with Max [Hesse] and Neil [Verhagen] again and getting the 2021 programme started with our intensive training camp at Formula Medicine in Italy. We hope to then get our track testing underway at the end of February. I can’t wait to get started.”
The 2021 Nürburgring Endurance Series is set to consist of nine events between March and October, with races running from two to six hours in length. The highlight of the year is the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, one of the fiercest and most popular 24 hour races in the world.
The BMW M6 GT3 was first introduced in 2016 and has been one of the most successful GT3 chassis’ in recent years, including winning the 24 Hours of Nürburgring last season. The car is powered by a 4.4 litre V8 engine generating up to 585hp and is renowned for its speed, handling and reliability.