Reigning BRDC Formula 4 Champion Jake Hughes has been selected by BMW Motorsport to join its new Junior Driver Development Programme.
The McLaren Autosport BRDC Award finalist is one of four drivers chosen to join the scheme, which will see them undergo an intense programme of theoretical and practical tests, including mental and simulator training and courses on fitness and PR, between May and October this year.
Hughes, who will continue his Formula Renault NEC programme with Mark Burdett Racing alongside his BMW commitments, will get test drives in a Formula BMW FB02 single-seater, with the first one to come on 19th and 20th May at Oschersleben.
The 19 year old will also get the opportunity to take part in three rounds of the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring-Nordschleife at the wheel of a BMW M235i Racing later this year.
In the second year of the programme and beyond, BMW will give the most talented youngsters opportunities for race drives in GT4 and GT3 cars, as well as tests in their sportscar and DTM machinery.
Hughes participated in a welcome event in Munich this week, where he met the other drivers on the programme and their mentor, BMW works driver Dirk Adorf, as well as enjoying exclusive tours of the BMW Welt, the BMW Museum and BMW Plant Munich.
“Nowadays, there are hardly any major manufacturers willing to train young racing drivers,” said Hughes. “The fact that BMW is offering us this opportunity based on talent alone is fantastic. I have not done many laps in a touring car yet, so I am sure I will learn an awful lot on this programme. I’d like to thank BMW Motorsport for their faith in me and I will be doing my utmost to repay that. I can’t wait to get out to the infamous Nordschleife!”
Hughes is joined on the scheme by Spaniard Moises Soriano, who finished runner-up in the Cup class of the European F3 Open last year, former Finnish Formula Renault champion Jesse Krohn and touring car driver Alexander Mies, the German having been the first confirmed driver on the programme back in March.
“I am delighted to welcome the first group on our new programme for young GT and touring car drivers into the BMW family,” commented BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. “Our four drivers came through against numerous other hopefuls, which shows we think a lot of their talent and are expecting big things from them. I am looking forward to seeing them on the racetrack together for the first time in the near future.”
This is the first time BMW have focused a junior programme on GT and touring car racing, having previously produced talent like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg through Formula BMW and the Formula BMW Talent Cup.