Team BMW will field an unchanged lineup for the 2018 British Touring Car Championship as 2017 vice-champion Colin Turkington and multiple race winner Rob Collard return to the WSR-run team.
The outfit will continue to place its faith in the BMW 125i M Sport, which collected ten race victories and a notable run of 21 straight points finishes in the hands of Collard last campaign, as BMW look to retain the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles won last term.
The squad benefited from the latest specification B48 engine courtesy of BMW in pre-season, and all three machines (including BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan) have undergone a performance and reliability upgrade over the winter.
Despie the improvements, Turkington is still expecting a tough fight as he bids for a third overall crown.
“I’m excited for the new season and delighted to be staying with Team BMW and WSR for another year,” said the Northern Irishman.
“This place feels like home to me, having raced here for 11 years already, and the environment is exactly what I need to get the best performance out of myself.
“I was bitterly disappointed to miss out on the Drivers’ Championship at the season finale last year and I’ll continue to put everything into winning the title this time around.
“The BMW 125i M Sport has won more titles than any other car in the past five years and the developments we’ve already tested for 2018 look like they’re going to make us even stronger, but we know that the competition won’t stand still so we’re expecting a tight battle.”
Having been forced to miss the final stages of what looked likely to be a title-contending season for Collard in 2017, the Hampshire-based racer is even more fired up for the task at hand this time around.
“The 2017 season was my most competitive to date in the BTCC and had I not missed the final five races, I’m certain I would have been in with a very strong chance of being champion,” asserted Collard.
“I’m fully recovered, have been training hard and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the BMW for the first test of the new year.
“This will be my ninth straight season with WSR and my 11th in total. Over that time my performances have improved year-on-year and I’ve played a key role in several title-winning campaigns.
“The Drivers’ Championship is my goal for 2018, and with the team continuing to evolve the car, I’m confident of fighting at the front.”
The third WSR-run BMW of Andrew Jordan is excited ahead of the new campaign, and hopeful that consistency could prove to be key as he undertakes a second successive campaign with Dick Bennetts’ outfit.
“This is the most excited I’ve been about a new BTCC season for a long time,” admitted Jordan.
“Having the continuity of a second year with WSR and the vast engineering resource and experience they have will be a huge benefit to me.
“I was delighted to win three times with BMW Pirtek Racing in 2017 and lead the most distance, and now, with a year’s experience of a rear-wheel-drive touring car under my belt, I’m very confident of being a consistent challenger throughout the year.
“If we can achieve this as a team, there’s no reason why we can’t challenge for the championship.”
Both Turkington and Jordan will be present at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham later this week, with the BTCC celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary at the NEC.