Reigning champion Colin Turkington believes the predicted heatwave at Brands Hatch for the second round of the 2020 British Touring Car Championship will play into the BMW’s hands.
Turkington, who currently leads the championship standings after getting his title defence off to a strong start at Donington Park, will carry maximum ballast into qualifying and the opening race at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.
The four-time champion managed to secure pole position despite carrying full weight in his BMW 3 Series at the season finale last season, but believes he will have to “adjust his expectations” this time around.
“Donington Park proved that it’s going to be a super-competitive season and that the usual big players are all going to be a big threat,” said Turkington.
“Brands Hatch won’t be easy with maximum success ballast, but we’re used to adjusting our expectations for qualifying and Race One when arriving heavy, and if you can get some clear track space, it’s not so bad.
With temperatures soaring in the South-East this weekend, Turkington believes the heat will play to the strengths of his rear-wheel drive BMW 330i M Sport.
“A heatwave is predicted, and we’ll have to arrive prepared for that, but rear-wheel-drive BMWs love the heat,” he said.
Normally we can manage our tyres better than the front-wheel-drive cars.”
Team Principal Dick Bennetts echoed Turkington’s thoughts, and noted the change of pace heading to the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for only the second round as opposed to the season finale.
“It feels unusual to be going to the GP circuit at Brands Hatch in the summer and not to have a championship situation in the forefront of our minds, but the warmer conditions should play to the strengths of the BMW,” said Bennetts.
“We had a long debrief on Sunday night at Donington in which I encouraged the engineers to think outside the box to try to unlock extra performance.”
Bennetts also believes Team BMW need to “be right on top” of their game to ensure they fend off cars he believes have made steps forward in terms of performance over the winter.
“We saw last weekend that there are some cars that have all of a sudden become extremely competitive over the winter and we’ll need to be right on top of our game to make sure we stay among them.”
The Brands Hatch GP round of the British Touring Car Championship gets underway with first practice at 09:30 BST on Saturday.