It was a season of ‘highs and lows’ and a case of the ‘best of the rest’ for West Surrey Racing in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in 2015, according to drivers Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff.
All three of WSR’s drivers ended up classified inside the top ten in the drivers’ standings after the season finale at Brands Hatch, with Tordoff ending up as the best placed driver behind a quintet of former champions at the top of the table.
Despite missing out on a title challenge, Tordoff believes he has learnt what he needs in order to mount a stronger challenge in 2016, having once again finished sixth overall in the drivers’ championship, equalling his 2013 campaign.
“To finish sixth in the championship in my first year with WSR and a rear-wheel drive BMW is a good return,” said Tordoff. “Of course you always want to finish as high as possible but it was only the previous champions that finished ahead of us. We were without doubt the best of the rest and now we have to get ourselves in the title mix next season, which I’m confident we can do.
“We’ve had some bad luck along the way too but all-in-all it has been a good season – I would like thank everyone involved with Team JCT600 with GardX for their fantastic efforts.”
Collard was tenth after a tough season, which included a trio of victories to equal his previous best in the BTCC. But the 47-year-old also lamented the six retirements he suffered over the course of the year – more than any other driver inside the top ten at the end of the season.
“It has been a year of high and lows,” admitted Collard. “Winning three races was fantastic and a real reward for Team JCT600 with GardX. Unfortunately there were other days when things simply didn’t go our way.
“The victories and podiums prove that both the car and I have the pace, but now we have to work on consistency, as that is what’s required if we’re to mount another championship challenge. We’ve done it before and I have no doubt that we can do it again, so I look forward to the 2016 season.”
A satellite operation was launched by WSR for 2015, with former World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx joining the team under the Team IHG Rewards Club banner. The Guernseyman ended the year eighth overall in the standings, despite having missed the Rockingham meeting due to clashing BMW commitments.
“It’s been a good year – I’ve had two wins, two poles and eight podiums – I’ve just loved being back competing in the BTCC!,” said Priaulx. “It’s been a bit of a learning curve, not so much with the driving but in how much the championship has changed and evolved since I last raced in it. The BTCC has always been a hard fought championship, and the racing is great, everybody loves it. In the car it’s really tough racing which is what I love!”
Priaulx has already admitted that he may not return to the championship in 2016, citing a lack of manufacturer opportunities as a concern, having been works-backed for the past 15 years.