Team BMW to defend BTCC titles
Team BMW will defend the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles with an unchanged driver line-up of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington in 2018.
The WSR-run team enjoyed a superb 2017 season as Rob and Colin claimed 20 podium finishes in their BMW 125i M Sports and finished second and fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Rob, from Eversley, Hampshire, is another driver to have forged a long and successful relationship with WSR, having first driven for the team 13 years ago.
The 2003 BTCC Independents’ Champion has claimed 12 of his 14 career wins with the organisation, including his maiden success at Knockhill in 2005.
Last year was his most successful to date as he scored points in the first 21 races and podiums at the opening six events; achievements unmatched by any other driver.
He remained in title contention until he was cruelly forced to miss the final five races due to the effects of a heavy crash at Silverstone in which he was an innocent victim.
Colin and Rob will, as in 2017, be joined by Andrew Jordan in a third 125i M Sport, which will be run under the BMW Pirtek Racing banner.
WSR’s trio of BMWs have undergone a number of developments over the winter break, aimed at enhancing the car’s already legendary performance and reliability. The car has won six overall BTCC titles in its five years of competition and is set for more success in 2018.
The BTCC celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2018 with 10 triple-header events held across the UK between April and October, each attracting a trackside audience of 40,000. All 30 races will be broadcast live in the UK on ITV4 in HD.
Rob Collard, Team BMW, said: “The 2017 season was my most competitive to date in the BTCC and had I not missed the final five races, I’m certain I would have been in with a very strong chance of being champion. I’m fully recovered, have been training hard and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the BMW for the first test of the new year. This will be my ninth straight season with WSR and my 11th in total. Over that time my performances have improved year-on-year and I’ve played a key role in several title-winning campaigns. The Drivers’ Championship is my goal for 2018, and with the team continuing to evolve the car, I’m confident of fighting at the front.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We’re very pleased to again be given the responsibility of representing BMW in the BTCC. We won the Manufacturers’ title and made Team BMW Teams’ Champions in 2017, but now the target is to add another Drivers’ crown. In Colin, Rob and AJ, we have three extremely strong drivers who all won races last year and know what it takes to be a champion in this series, while in the BMW 125i M Sport, we have a car that’s undergone constant engineering development since 2013 and which has won six overall titles in the past five years. While the level of competitiveness in the BTCC seems to rise year-on-year, we’ve proved ourselves as consistent front-runners and again aim for silverware come the end of the season.”
Name: Rob Collard
Car: BMW 125i M Sport
Team: Team BMW
Born: 1 October, 1968
Lives: Eversley, Hampshire
BTCC debut: Oulton Park, 29 May, 2000
Fastest laps: 16
BTCC Titles: Independents’ Champion 2003