Belfast Telegraph

Turkington fired up after BMW's 3 Series return


New chapter: Colin Turkington
New chapter: Colin Turkington

By Sammy Hamill

Colin Turkington and his West Surrey Racing team are switching cars for the defence of their British Touring Car driver and manufacturer titles.

They will still race BMWs, of course, but to coincide with the launch of the latest cars in the German manufacturer's 3 Series range next month, the WSR team will field a trio of 330i saloons for Turkington, Andrew Jordan and new recruit Tom Oliphant.

Turkington has already won the drivers' title three times for BMW, the latest in 2018 in their 125i M Sport. But now they are returning to the 3 Series, a version which has a long history of success in the British Championship stretching back to 1988 and including Turkington's first BTCC title in 2009.

"As far as pre-seasons go, it doesn't get much better than this," said the Portadown champion who clocked up BMW's 100th victory in the Championship at Thruxton in 2017.

"In 2009 I clinched my first drivers' title in a BMW 3 Series, and to begin a new chapter with the new model for Team BMW is a dream come true. This exciting project has delivered a potent dose of motivation into an already dedicated team and we are inspired to get going.

"It's a very busy time for the engineering team back at base as they build and develop the cars for the new season, but the expertise is there to get the job done. The new-look road car is stunning, and the race car will be something else."

Oliphant, after a first BTCC season with Ciceley Motorsport, comes in to join Turkington and Jordan as replacement for Rob Collard, who has moved to the Power Maxed Vauxhall team. He is a former Ginetta GT4 Supercup champion and a race winner in the British GT series.

Fellow Ulsterman Chris Smiley will also be on board a new car this season, his BTC Racing team having taken delivery of a pair of the latest FK2 Honda Civics for the Carrickfergus driver and new team-mate Josh Cook whose move from Power Maxed Racing opened the door for long-time West Surrey driver Collard.

The 2019 Kwik Fit Championship begins at Brands Hatch on April 6 with all 30 races being shown live on ITV4.

Belfast Telegraph


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