Team BMW head to Knockhill this weekend aiming to continue their challenge for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Drivers Colin Turkington and Rob Collard hold second and third positions in the Drivers’ standings and are both within four points of the series leader heading into Scotland’s only BTCC event of the year. With WSR-run Team BMW leading the Teams’ Championship and BMW at the head of the Manufacturers’ standings, it has been an excellent season so far.
Both Colin and Rob aim to continue that run of success at a circuit that has provided nine BTCC victories and 24 podiums for WSR-run cars, although their strong championship positions mean they will carry 66kg and 57kg success ballast respectively, making their cars two of the heaviest on-track.
Rob, from Hampshire, is the only driver to finish on the podium at each BTCC event in 2017 and score points in every race. He has taken five BTCC wins at Knockhill including his first in 2005 and a dominant double in 2012 – both with WSR.
Team-mate Colin, who is two points ahead of him in the Drivers’ Championship, was a double-winner at Knockhill in 2013 in the first year of competition for the BMW 125i M Sport.cThe Northern Irishman, from Portadown, has finished on the podium nine times at Knockhill.
The Knockhill triple-header on August 12-13 is the seventh of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in nine circuits the length and breadth of the country. Every round is screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.
Rob Collard said: “I can’t wait to get to Knockhill to continue my push for the championship. It’s a very special track for me because it’s where I took my first BTCC win in 2005, my first double victory in 2012 and five wins in total, which makes it my strongest circuit. It’s a track where the BMW should be strong with lots of traction zones meaning we should be able to run a strong and consistent pace. Of course, being third in the championship means carrying 57kg ballast, and this will make qualifying and Race One tough, but we’ve proven at other circuits that we’re capable of racing our way to the front regardless of the circumstances.”
Colin Turkington said: “I’m looking forward to Scotland and aiming to continue to fight for the championship. Snetterton gave us good points and more than halved my gap to the top of the points table, while Knockhill is a track where I’ve been on the podium nine times and had a double win. It’s also the event where we tend to see the highest number of fans from Northern Ireland, which always creates a great atmosphere for me. It’s traditionally been a good track for the BMWs, but the way we’ve performed across the season so far shows that we can win anywhere as long as we maximise our opportunities.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We arrive in Scotland leading the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championships and with Colin and Rob right in the thick of the battle for the Drivers’ title. This is a great testament to how hard everybody has worked this season. Knockhill has traditionally been one of our strongest circuits and the WSR-designed-and-built BMW 125i M Sport has been on the podium 11 times in 12 races there. Of course, history won’t help us this weekend, but we can use the experience gained with those results to help us maximise every opportunity that comes our way.”
About West Surrey Racing
Founded by New Zealander Dick Bennetts in 1981, West Surrey Racing are one of Europe’s most successful racing teams, having tasted success with World Champion drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Tom Kristensen, Nigel Mansell, Allan McNish and Andy Priaulx. After becoming the most successful team in the British Formula 3 Championship during the 1980s, WSR moved into the British Touring Car Championship and have continued their extraordinary run of success. As well as running race-winning factory BTCC programmes for Ford, Honda and MG, WSR have taken five outright championship titles, nine independents’ crowns and 75 race victories. They are also race winners in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Based in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, WSR currently contest the BTCC with the BMW 125i M Sport.