Rob Collard says that he is ‘better prepared than ever’ ahead of the start of the 2018 British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch this weekend, where the BMW driver will begin his 19th year in the championship.
Collard, 49, enjoyed one of his strongest seasons to-date in 2017 and looked set to usurp his own season best, before a huge shunt at Silverstone in the penultimate meeting effectively ended his year.
Having rested and recuperated during the winter, Collard now believes he is better prepared than ever as he heads into the new year, seeking to add to his 14 race win tally.
“Last year was my best BTCC campaign performance-wise,” said Collard. “It was bitterly disappointing that injury ruled me out of the final five races and prevented me from taking the title fight down to the wire.
“I’m fully recovered now and am better-prepared than I’ve ever been for a race season as I aim for the Drivers’ championship. Team BMW have worked extremely hard over the winter to improve the car in many different areas and the results have been encouraging in testing.
“I’ve won three times at Brands Hatch and it’s always been a track at which I’ve been able to show great speed. I’ve no reason to think this weekend will be any different.”
WSR Team Principal Dick Bennetts says the team, who are many pundits’ favourites for the crown, are targeting all three titles in 2018, with evolution rather than revolution having been the focus in the off-season.
“We’re heading into the new season and as always, targeting the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles, which should be no surprise to anybody,” said Bennetts. “We’ve won six championships over the past four years with the BMW 125i M Sport, which continues to be a front-running car due to the way the very experienced WSR engineers have developed it since 2013.
“Continuity with the same drivers and engineers helps us to develop a very good package. However, we are up against some very tough competition this year.
“The BMW B48 turbocharged engine showed very good reliability last season and the combination of this powerplant and the developments that have gone into the chassis gives us confidence, as does having some of the BTCC’s best drivers.
“Brands Indy has been a successful circuit for us and this year, perhaps more than ever before, it will be crucial to try and bag big points at your good tracks, as the competition looks to have gone up a level once more.”