Colin Turkington admits that he is still getting used to his BMW 125i M Sport car, with the Northern Irishman having now raced three different cars in three years.
Turkington finished the afternoon of testing at Donington Park on Thursday in 14th position, having completed 51 laps in cool conditions at the East Midlands circuit.
Despite having spent plenty of time in recent weeks testing the car, including a productive stint at the Parcmotor Castellolí circuit in Spain, Turkington admits that it takes time to get used to returning to the 1-Series car.
“It’s the same fundamental car,” said Turkington to TouringCars.Net. “I guess it’s more user-friendly now. It was a good car in 2014 and there was room for improvement, which they’ve done. It’s difficult to quantify because I’ve only driven it on the new tyre, so it’s hard to say how much is the tyre and how much is the chassis.
“It’s the third different car for me in three years, so it takes a few laps before it feels like your own car. You don’t get back in and remember it all, you get back in and it all feels strange again because you’ve been accustomed to something else. Hopefully we’ll get a few more days in and I’ll be fully in the groove.”
Whilst his team-mate Rob Collard, just 0.026 seconds in front, was using the new BMW B48 engine, Turkington spent the afternoon running the power unit used in last year’s campaign.
“With two weeks to Brands, I haven’t run it [the new engine] yet,” added Turkington. “It seems it went well today in Rob’s car, so we’re hoping that it will be quick out of the box and will give us the next step forward.
“We’re confident it will be [a step forward], but until you actually go out there and do it, you don’t quite know.”
With the conditions at Donington differing greatly from those in Spain, Turkington admitted that a part of the testing programme involved getting used to being back on UK ground.
Turkington even revealed this his highlight of the day was leaving the pits for the first time in works colours – his first time with BMW, despite racing the German machinery for seven years in total to-date.
“This is the first time we’ve run in the UK since the turn of the year, so it was a really good feeling driving out this morning for the first time in the livery of Team BMW – that was the highlight of the day!
“We had a productive test in the afternoon; you always want more track time but we got through 75% of the stuff we wanted to and ticked some boxes. We’re still very much learning which direction we need to go in with the new tyre.
“We have a couple more days [of testing] and so we’re just working towards that. We’ve come from Spain where it’s been 17 or 18 degrees to a really cold Donington, so the car obviously behaves differently and we’ve got to take some things from that, but I think we’re in the ball park.”