WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts says he is still working on a deal to continue the team’s partnership with Rob Collard in the 2017 British Touring Car Championship, although nothing has been signed.
Collard has raced a WSR car for the past seven years, making the pairing one of the most enduring in the paddock.
However, Bennetts insisted that nothing was certain when pressed by Autosport, adding that Collard, who won twice in 2016, has other offers on his table to consider.
“I’ve spoken more to Rob Collard in the last four weeks than I have for five years,” said Bennetts to TouringCars.Net. “We haven’t come to an agreement yet; Rob’s got a couple of other offers on the table.
“I’m hearing rumours, but at this point in time we’ve got one driver signed and that’s Andrew. I’m working hard with Rob; he’s got some cheaper offers and I can’t do anything about that. We have to reach a minimum budget for the service we provide, so I don’t want to lower my standards. Rob wants to stay, we want him to stay, so we’re working hard on that one.
“We’re close, but we’re not there yet, but we’re very pleased to have Andrew [Jordan] all done and signed; he’s tested and the car looks stunning. We’re getting there.”
Bennetts confirmed that the team’s remaining two cars, both of which have the seats to be filled, will run in a similar colour scheme, although he also expressed a preference to try to unify all three cars again in 2018.
“The other two cars will be very similar, except for where the drivers have their own sponsorship places. In the perfect world I’d like to go back to how it was with eBay in 2014, where we had all three cars the same, and then the drivers have their sponsors.
“We used to have three-year deals, but they’re harder to get now and it makes life a bit more difficult. It’s not cheap to do this championship properly.
“My ‘dream team’ is to have three cars looking the same, but if it has to be the way it is then the good thing is that behind the scenes all three cars are treated equally; every driver gets the same opportunity, they all have the same amount of mechanics and engineers. We have 25 people for three cars, so it’s quite a big operation.
“I wouldn’t want to do it any other way, because it’s hard enough to win when everything’s going right, so if you take shortcuts somewhere down the line you’ll suffer.
“But at the moment the Pirtek car looks stunning, so we’ll get through this year and then revisit it for 2018.”
With Colin Turkington having been recently dropped by Team BMR, there is mounting speculation that the former double champion will be returning to WSR, making the competition for the remaining two seats even more fierce.