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Andy Priaulx returns to the BTCC with WSR

Triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx will make a return to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in 2015, racing an IHG-backed BMW 1 Series for West Surrey Racing.

Priaulx, 40, last raced in the BTCC in 2002 when he was a works Honda driver, before he moved to the then European Touring Car Championship to race for BMW in 2003. The Guernseyman has been a long-time BMW driver ever since, and has taken one European and three World titles in touring car racing in that time.

“I am very excited about 2015,” said Priaulx. “To have the opportunity to race again in the UK with my long-term partners IHG, alongside race and test programmes in America and Europe, is going to be a lot of fun.”

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Priaulx previously raced in the BTCC in 2001 and 2002, making his début as a replacement for the banned Phil Bennett at egg:sport in 2001, scoring a podium finish on his first weekend in the series. He then became a works’ Honda driver in 2002, taking one victory before leaving the series for BMW at the end of the year.

“The BTCC is one of the strongest touring car championships in Europe and unfinished business for me,” added Priaulx. “I am looking forward to joining West Surrey Racing in their Championship winning BMW 125i M Sport and working with Dick Bennetts, whose engineering success speaks for itself.”

Team Principal Dick Bennetts admits to feeling privileged to be able to welcome such a high profile name back to the BTCC, not just to WSR.

“What can one say… to have Andy Priaulx and IHG join WSR for the BTCC in 2015 is a real privilege,” said Bennetts, whose team took the overall driver’s title in 2013 with Colin Turkington. “I have known Andy for many years, so to have him – a three time World Touring Car Champion – in one of our BMW 125i’s is fantastic news, not only for WSR but the BTCC as well.

“We are also looking forward to working with IHG and help them promote the IHG® Rewards Club loyalty programme, with Andy’s car. Having already signed Sam Tordoff, with a third driver hopefully announced in the next week or so, everyone at WSR is really looking forward to another exciting season in the BTCC.”

Priaulx raced in the ETCC from 2003 to 2004, taking the title in his second year in the series. Incredibly he then went on to take three successive WTCC titles between 2005 and 2007, continuing in the series until 2010 when BMW withdrew. Having raced in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) in 2012 and 2013, Priaulx was dropped for 2014 and shifted to North America to compete in the United Sportscar Championship for BMW.

Priaulx will race with the car number ‘111’ in 2015, with each digit representing one of his World Touring Car Championship titles.

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