Stephen Jelley will return to West Surrey Racing for the 2021 British Touring Car Championship, completing the Team BMW line-up alongside Colin Turkington and Tom Oliphant – 12 years after he last raced for team.
Jelley made his BTCC début back in 2008 with WSR, then racing a Super 2000 BMW 320si. The following year he claimed a memorable double win at Rockingham to end the year seventh overall in the drivers’ standings – his best to-date.
Jelley would then be away from the BTCC for seven years before returning with Team Parker Racing in 2007 in a Ford Focus.
Switching back to rear-wheel drive for 2018 in an ex-WSR BMW 125i M Sport, the 38-year-old raced the car for the past three seasons, including taking victory at Oulton Park in 2019 to record Team Parker’s first BTCC win.
Last year, Jelley was again on the podium at Brands Hatch, ultimately recording eight top ten finishes to end the year 16th overall in the drivers’ standings.
“I’m thrilled to return to WSR as part of Team BMW for 2021,” said Jelley. “There were times over the past few years – even when I was winning and getting podiums in the 1 Series – that I wasn’t sure I’d have an opportunity like this again, so to say that I’m looking forward to the season would be a huge understatement.
“When I walked into the workshop for the first time in over a decade, the first thing that I noticed was just how many trophies there are on the shelves now, and that’s incredibly inspiring.
“I’ve spent the past few years in a WSR-built BMW 1 Series, so there won’t be an issue adapting to the 330i M Sport, and I’m pleased to have both Colin and Tom in the team because I think we can all work together well to keep pushing ourselves forwards.
“I’ve been given the best possible platform to achieve what I want to in the BTCC and I don’t intend to waste it.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, is expecting Jelley to perform strongly in the team’s BMW 330i M Sport, given his now considerable experience in both touring cars and rear-wheel drive machinery.
“We’re very pleased to have Stephen back at WSR and part of the Team BMW line-up for 2021,” said Bennetts.
“When Stephen joined us first-time around, he’d come out of single-seaters and was completely new to touring car racing, but he knuckled down and did a good job to score his first pole position in his rookie year and then a magnificent double win at Rockingham in 2009.
“His performances in the WSR-built 1 Series over the past couple of years have shown that he remains a tenacious racer who performs best in rear-wheel-drive cars.
“Personality-wise, he fits in very well with the whole team as well as Colin and Tom so we’re very pleased with the strength of our line-up heading into the new season.”