Portadown's Colin Turkington has told Sunday Life Sport that he has never felt better prepared for a British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) campaign as a West Surrey Racing driver than this season.
Turkington will go in search of a record-breaking fifth BTCC crown in 2021 after narrowly missing out on the trophy in the final race of the deciding round at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit last November.
He arrived at the Kent venue with a slender nine-point cushion and praying for settled weather - but heavy downpours soaked the circuit early on and quickly loosened the grip he had on the tin-top title.
Keen to avoid a repeat, Turkington and his engineers from West Surrey Racing - the team that will run his factory-backed BMW UK 330i M Sport - have been hard at work during the winter and pre-season period, which has included laps around Silverstone to bed in a series of new upgrades for the saloon.
"I think it's one of the most complete pre-season testing programmes we've ever had at Team BMW," said Turkington, who spearheads West Surrey Racing's assault on the series for a fifth successive time.
"We've done six days, one in 2020 and five this year, starting two weeks after the end of the 2020 season.
"We've tried to address the areas we felt needed a bit of improvement with the car and done a lot of work on that. We've learned a lot and I've been pleased with how much seat time I've had - but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating when we start racing at Thruxton Circuit next weekend.
"I come back with the same determination to win every year, regardless of whether that is as the reigning champion or as someone wanting to get back on top. The motivation never wanes," he added.
"My target all along was to be BTCC champion and I achieved that in 2009, but when I came back I wanted it just as badly. It's not about breaking records, it's about winning in the here and now. My goal is to be 2021 BTCC champion - that's all the motivation I need to do the best job I possibly can."
With last season ending in the depths of November - a first for the BTCC and the result of a condensed calendar brought about by Covid-19 - Turkington admits the quick turnaround has been a challenge.
"It's been a different winter, but I've kept training and the fact we haven't been able to go on holiday, or out to restaurants, means I am probably a kilo or two lighter than normal, which all helps!" he said.