Former racer Rico Penzkofer will manage a four-man international road racing team at this year's Vauxhall North West 200 led by English rider Steve Mercer.

The BMW Racing Team boasts a truly international flavour with Mercer joined by young German rider Steven Michels, Matsushita Yoshinari from Japan and Switzerland's Herve Ganthner.

Team boss Penzkofer, who finished as the top newcomer at the North West 200 in 2009, retired from racing at the Macau Grand Prix last November.

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"The roads always have been my passion and that's why I also want to heighten their profile by bringing my own team and a strong German squad," Penzkofer said.

Mercer is relishing the opportunity to ride the BMW S1000RR Superbike at the event in May and has admired Penzkofer's set-up in the past.

The 31-year-old, a regular at the North West 200, said: "I'm delighted to be part of for 2013.

"I've raced Rico in various different races over the last couple of years and have always been very impressed by the standard of his bikes and team.

"I welcome the opportunity to ride for a team with so much experience - particularly as for 2013, the team has been working with the BMW S1000RR and HP4 from day one.

"Hopefully I can add my experience into the team and between us we can get the results we are all looking for."

German young gun Michels has already earned top ten positions in the German Superbike Championship (IDM), while Swiss rider Ganthner, who will also ride a BMW S1000 RR in the Superbike and Superstock races, adds further strength in depth to the team.

The fourth rider in the 2013 line-up is Yoshinari, who has enjoyed a long association with the Racing Team, competing on a BMW at the last two Isle of Man TT races and at the Macau Grand Prix in 2012.