Belfast Telegraph

Now Driver of the Year Turkington sets sights on a record fifth crown


Prize guy: Colin Turkington
Prize guy: Colin Turkington

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington, who was named Britain's National Racing Driver of the Year at the weekend, has confirmed he will stay with BMW as he bids for an all-time record of five British Touring Car titles in 2020.

On a night when he shared the stage at the prestigious Autosport Awards in London with world champions Lewis Hamilton and Ott Tanak, Turkington topped the poll in the National Driver category, beating off competition which included his fellow Ulsterman Daniel Harper, the teenage GB Porsche Carrera Cup champion.

Immediately afterwards he announced he will stay with manufacturers' champions BMW and West Surrey Racing next season in a bid to retain the BTCC title he won in a dramatic finale at Brands Hatch back in October, equalling Andy Rouse as a four-time champion.

Now he has his sights set on becoming the most successful BTCC driver of all time.

"Going into 2020 with Team BMW will mark my 16th season in the BTCC and remaining with BMW and the West Surrey team was never in doubt and we are excited to be defending our titles together," said the Portadown man who picked up another honour yesterday with the award of the Fairfield Trophy from the British Racing Drivers' Club for his Outstanding Achievements, at a lunch where Harper collected the Surtees Trophy for his performances as a Rising Star.

Turkington added: "Becoming a four-time BTCC champion was a special moment, but I am motivated to keep striving for more. Racing with this team gives me the best chance to achieve further success, and I'm so thankful to both BMW and WSR for these opportunities.

"The level of competition in this series keeps me inspired and I'm as hungry as ever to further develop the BMW 3 Series and push the limits of performance as far as we can. We had very little testing this season outside of the races so I'm looking forward to starting a thorough programme in the New Year.

"The consistency of the car and personnel is a great boost and further motivates me as we get to see what the potential of this car actually is. There was a lot of 'new' to contend with in 2019 in terms of the car and my engineer, so familiarity of environment should only enhance things."

Turkington, who is now based in England, was back home on Friday night to receive an Outstanding Achievement award from his local peers at the Celebration of Motorsport dinner in the Culloden Hotel, an event which raised over £75,000 for Action Medical Research NI.

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