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TEAM BMW heralds a new era for BMW UK in the 2017 British Touring Car Championship

• Returning as a Manufacturer Team after 21 years. • Marking ten years relationship with West Surrey Racing. • Welcoming back 2014 BTCC Champion, Colin Turkington. • Celebrating signing of multiple BTCC Independent Drivers Champion, Andrew Jordan. • Renewing seven year WSR deal with Series’ favourite, Rob Collard. • The Series commences at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 1-2 April 2017.

 

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A further chapter in BMW’s illustrious history in touring car racing unfolded today as BMW UK, in partnership with West Surrey Racing (WSR), announced a three-car team that will again bid for victory of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.

The announcement of TEAM BMW is a landmark occasion, marking BMW’s return to the country’s best-watched motor race series as a manufacturer team. It has been 21 years since the marque last contested the series in this manner, when BMW Team Schnitzer fielded a BMW 320i line-up.

Graeme Grieve, CEO of BMW Group UK, commented: “The BTCC is one of the most significant race series in the UK and has a huge and enthusiastic following. With a history of success and the continuous support of WSR for the past decade, we are delighted to step up as a Manufacturer Team again after 21 years.”  

BMW UK’s significant financial investment in the BTCC team includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.

At the launch at BMW Park Lane, London, Graeme Grieve joined WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, to remove the wraps from one of the three BMW 125i M Sport team cars that will contest the 2017 BTCC.   With the cars freshly-developed, prepared and run again by WSR, BMW’s return to the Series as a Manufacturer coincides with a further landmark, marking a decade since WSR first contested the BTCC with BMW, which has endured to this day.

The BMW relationship with Dick Bennetts’ Sunbury-based operation in the BTCC was established in 2007, where they claimed both the Independent Drivers and Teams Championships. They repeated the feat in 2008 and went on to take the overall BTCC Drivers’ title in 2009, and added a driver and team double crown in 2014.

Dick Bennetts remarked: “I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for ten years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It is a tribute to BMW’s product and commitment, and we are delighted to once again represent the marque as they return with increased commitment as a Manufacturer in the BTCC.”

Significantly, the driver roll of honour for each of the three BTCC Independent, Overall and Teams Championship victories fell to Northern Ireland’s Colin Turkington.

 

Turkington has spent nine of his 12 BTCC seasons with the WSR-BMW team, during which he scored 26 wins over five seasons. Now, two years after claiming the outright Drivers Championship at the wheel of a previous-generation BMW 125i M Sport, he returns to the rear-wheel drive TEAM BMW with renewed vigour.

Driver talent runs deep in BMW’s 2017 BTCC campaign.   Joining Turkington is Andrew Jordan, 2013 BTCC Overall Drivers Champion and three-time Independent Drivers Champion - who brings with him long-term personal sponsor, Pirtek. Completing the trio is Rob Collard, a BTCC followers’ favourite and the Series’ legendary overtaker who, after his most competitive season to date in 2016, marks the tenth consecutive year he has driven a BMW in the BTCC, the last seven with WSR.

Last year, the trio of WSR-prepared BMW 125i M Sport cars contributed to a nail-biting finale that went down to the wire at the final round. Team driver Sam Tordoff was pipped at the post for the overall driver’s title, just two points shy of victory. Nevertheless, the WSR BMW team claimed a double title success at the conclusion of the series, taking the BTCC Constructors crown and the Teams’ Championship once again.

Entering the 2017 season of the super-competitive BTCC, TEAM BMW has heavyweight success behind it, increased financial and technical investment from BMW UK, the skills, consistency and superb track record of West Surrey Racing, and a driver trio that collectively represents the most powerful line-up in this year’s BTCC series.

 

The history behind the success: WSR and BMW
A switch to BMW machinery in 2007 marked the start of the most successful chapter in WSR’s touring car history. Colin Turkington became independents’ champion in his first season with the BMW 320si and added an overall title in ’09 and a race win in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for WSR the following year.

Replacing the 320si model with the new BMW 1 Series for 2013 paved the way for another overall title for Turkington in 2014. He also won the independents’ title – the fifth for a WSR driver in 11 seasons – and helped the team add a fourth independent teams’ crown in the same year.

The 2015 season brought race victories for WSR’s three drivers; Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Andy Priaulx while Collard, Tordoff and Jack Goff combined to win the constructors’ and teams’ championships in 2016; the latter under the Team JCT600 with GardX banner.

 

TEAM BMW: Driver biographies 2017 British Touring Car Championship

 

ROB COLLARD

Nationality: British

DOB: 1st October 1968

Age: 48

Born: Hampshire

Lives: Eversley

BTCC History

BTCC Debut: Oulton Park, 29 May 2000

BTCC starts: 427

BTCC wins: 13

BTCC podiums: 53

Fastest laps: 15

Drivers Titles

(2016 Dunlop MSA BTCC #ForeverForward Trophy winner)

2003 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers’ Trophy

ANDREW JORDAN

Nationality: British

DOB: 24th May 1989

Age: 27

Born: Sutton Coldfield

Lives: Lichfield

BTCC History

BTCC Debut: Brands Hatch, 30th March 2008

BTCC starts: 265

BTCC wins: 16

BTCC poles: 6

BTCC podiums: 53

Fastest laps: 16

Drivers Titles

2016 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy

2013 Dunlop MSA BTCC Drivers Championship

2013 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy

2012 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy

2007 British Rallycross Supercar Championship

2005 British, BTRDA & Super Series Junior Rallycross Championships

2005 Ginetta Winter Series

2004 BTRDA Junior Rally Championship

2003 Winter Junior Rallycross Championship

COLIN TURKINGTON

Nationality: British

DOB: 21st March 1982

Age: 34

Born: Newry, County Down

Lives: Portadown, County Armagh

BTCC History

BTCC Debut: Oulton Park 21st April 2002

BTCC starts: 333

BTCC wins: 41

BTCC poles: 17

BTCC podiums: 110

Fastest laps: 39

Driver titles

2016 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th Drivers Championship

BRDC Silver Star Winner

2015 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th Drivers Championship

Independent Drivers Champion

2014 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 1st Champion

Independent Drivers Champion

Autosport National Driver of the Year

BRDC Silver Star Winner

2013 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship

2011 SCANDINAVIAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship

2011 World Touring Car Championship - 3 Events (1 podium finish)

2010 FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6 Events

(4 podiums including 1 win – Japan)

2009 HiQ MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 1st Champion

Independent Drivers Champion

BMW Sports Trophy winner

Autosport National Driver of the Year

2008 HiQ MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP - 4th Drivers Championship

Independent Drivers Champion

2007 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship

Independent Drivers Champion

BMW Sports Trophy Winner

3rd WTCC Race of Great Britain

8th WTCC Race of Macau

2006 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 3rd Drivers Championship

2005 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6th Drivers Championship

2004 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6th Drivers Championship

2003 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 8th Drivers Championship

2002 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 14th Drivers Championship

2001 FORD FIESTA ZETEC S CHAMPIONSHIP – Champion

 

 The Series commences at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 1-2 April 2017.

 

ENDS

 

The BMW Group

 

With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 31 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

 

In 2015, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.247 million cars and nearly 137,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2015 was approximately € 9.22 billion on revenues amounting to € 92.18 billion. As of 31 December 2015, the BMW Group had a workforce of 122,244 employees.

 

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.

 

Facebook: BMW UK

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LinkedIn: BMW Group UK Limited

YouTube: BMW UK

 

West Surrey Racing

 

West Surrey Racing (WSR) was created by New Zealander Dick Bennetts in 1981 to race in the British Formula 3 Championship and achieved success almost immediately as Jonathan Palmer won its debut race on March 1 at Silverstone and went on to take that season’s title. Four more crowns were achieved in British F3 by 1991 with Ayrton Senna, Mauricio Gugelmin, Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. Senna and Gugelmin also won the category’s most prestigious race, the Macau Grand Prix, with WSR.

 

WSR bowed out of F3 at the end of 1995 as the most successful team in the history of the series, both in terms of race victories and titles; its prowess helping it to become Ford’s works team in the 1996 British Touring Car Championship. A breakthrough BTCC win was achieved with Will Hoy in 1998 while F1 legend Nigel Mansell memorably led ‘the greatest touring car race of all time’ at Donington Park later that year in another of WSR’s Mondeos. For 1999 WSR began a two-year association with Honda, winning first time out with James Thompson and closing with a double-victory for Tom Kristensen at Silverstone in what was the final BTCC event for Super Touring machinery.

 

A new manufacturer programme began in the post-Super Touring era with MG; Anthony Reid taking victory at only the third event for the ZS racer in 2001 and he, Warren Hughes and Colin Turkington all winning races. MG withdrew from motorsport at the end of 2003 and WSR opted to continue with the ZS saloons as a non-factory team for the next three seasons. They were rewarded by Reid’s independent drivers’ title in ’04 and race victories right up to the end of the 2006 season.

 

Website: www.wsr-racing.com

 

For further information please contact:

Lauren Prema                                       BMW Media Relations Executive

Tel: 07815 370746

Email: Lauren.Prema@bmw.co.uk   

 

Gavin Ward                                           BMW Media Relations Manager

Tel: 01252 921261           

Email: Gavin.Ward@bmw.co.uk

 

WSR Press Information:

Jamie O’Leary                                      WSR Motorsport PR

Tel: 07725 087316

E-mail: jamieoleary26@gmail.com

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