WSR are one of the UK’s most successful motor racing teams, having won countless races and championship crowns during its 39-year history at the top level of UK motorsport.
Formed by current Managing Director and Team Principal Dick Bennetts in early 1981, winning through top-quality engineering has always been right at the core of everything they do; a point not lost on their rivals, who again saw the Sunbury-on-Thames team win two more British Touring Car Championship titles in 2019.
Establishing WSR to run Formula 3 graduate Jonathan Palmer in the British Championship in 1981 – and subsequently winning first time out – Dick Bennetts was almost always in the winners’ circle as his young charge claimed the title to set the team on its way.
Further titles in 1983 and ’85 via Ayrton Senna and Mauricio Gugelmin – plus Macau Grand Prix wins in both years – were followed by more championship glory for Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello before the team switched codes to the British Touring Car Championship in 1996. At that point it had collected 56 British F3 wins – a record that was not surpassed for several years once the series moved to a double-header format.
The BTCC was well-versed in double-headers by then as WSR debuted as Ford’s works team with drivers Paul Radisich and Steve Robertson, but it was not until the team’s third season in the series that they won again; Will Hoy triumphing at Silverstone in a Mondeo in a year in which Nigel Mansell would make the headlines in a number of guest drives.
Two years as Honda’s factory team from 1999-2000 made WSR regular winners as drivers like James Thompson, Peter Kox and Tom Kristensen performed strongly.
More victories followed with MG, both as a works team from 2001-03, and once operating the ZS saloons on a privateer basis afterwards; Anthony Reid winning the Independents’ crown in such a vehicle in ’04.
It was the switch to BMW machinery in 2007 that made WSR BTCC title contenders. Back-to-back Independents’ titles for Colin Turkington were followed by the big one; the overall crown, in 2009, in the 320si model, and an FIA World Touring Car Championship win in a similar car the following year in Japan.
Following a spell racing abroad, Colin returned to WSR in 2013 and took the next Drivers’ title for the team the next year with the BMW 125i M Sport; he, Rob Collard and Nick Foster amassing a staggering 26 podiums from 30 races to land the Teams’ crown for WSR for the first time.
Working hard to keep the 1 Series competitive against newer opposition, the Teams’ and Manufacturers’/Constructors’ titles were won in 2016 with the line-up of Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff; attracting increased support from BMW UK and leading to the creation of Team BMW the following season.
A galvanised line-up featured Colin, Rob and newcomer Andrew Jordan, running under the BMW Pirtek Racing banner, and came away once more with the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ crowns.
The long-awaited third Drivers’ title was delivered by Colin in 2018; the Northern Irishman the model of consistency as he became champion, despite winning only one race. With the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles also achieved, this is one of WSR’s greatest seasons.
If anything, 2019 was even better. Designing, building and racing the brand-new BMW 330i M Sport, which didn’t turn a wheel until 10 days before the start of the season, the trio of Colin, Andrew and Tom Oliphant achieved WSR’s highest-ever single-season wins total of 11 victories; Colin and Andrew finishing one-two in the Drivers’ Championship, separated by just two points as Colin won a record-equalling fourth Drivers’ title. With a fourth-straight Manufacturers’ crown also scooped, and a three-car Team BMW line-up programme primed to attack in 2020, things have never been better.