Colin Turkington scored a landmark 150th British Touring Car Championship win for BMW on a day when WSR drivers claimed a double-victory at the Home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone.
The Team BMW driver’s Race-Three victory, combined with an earlier wet-weather success for Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill, nearly doubled BMW’s Manufacturers’ Championship lead with just one round of the 2023 season remaining.
The day’s opening race hinged on tyre choice as the heavens opened just as the grid was being cleared before the start.
Opting for wet-weather Goodyears, Jake stormed into the lead at the start from fourth on the grid and was never seriously challenged as he claimed his fifth win of the year – the most he’s had in a single season – aboard his BMW 330e M Sport.
Colin, meanwhile, started on slicks and dropped back; the Northern Irishman being hit by a rival on the opening lap and sustaining suspension damage that led to several laps in the pits for repairs and, ultimately, non-classification.
From the back of the grid in Race Two the four-time series champion stormed through to eighth place, which became fifth on Race Three’s partially-reversed grid.
A magnificent drive in the finale, in which he picked off his rivals one-by-one, netted a fourth win of 2023 and the 67th of his illustrious BTCC career. BMW’s 150th series win came at the same circuit where the German Manufacturer scored its first in 1973 with Australian Brian Muir.
Jake looked set for a dry win of his own in Race Two; building a commanding lead before suffering an electrical misfire – caused by a failure of a control part – that dropped him to 12th.
While this would ultimately have given him Race-Three pole, he was hit from behind by a rival at the race’s final corner and dropped to 20th. He recovered to eighth in Race Three, but suffered another misfire – this time a less-impactful one – for the final 10 laps.
Team BMW’s Adam Morgan stormed through the field on wet tyres to finish fourth in the opener and added fifth in Race Two to build a strong haul of points across the early part of the afternoon.
The Lancashire racer was involved in a first-lap collision that spun him into a barrier and dropped him to last place, but magnificently steered his BMW 3 Series to 10th by the flag.
That was three places ahead of Stephen Jelley, who suffered a hybrid system failure on the opening lap – as he had in qualifying – and was restricted to 13th spot.
The Knockhill podium-finisher, from Leicester, was spun into the gravel trap by a rival in Race Two but recovered to 18th. He was 19th in the opener after choosing to switch from slicks to wets at the end of the formation lap.
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “What a great way to finish with such a milestone win for BMW. Ever since we switched to the BMW 3 Series E90 in 2007 we’ve always had a potent package in the BTCC and had a great run of success. I didn’t think we’d get that win today after everything started so badly. We went for slick tyres just as it started raining in Race One and that started everything off. I struggled for balance in Race Two, but in Race Three the BMW felt amazing and it was just a case of being patient with the guys ahead and using the hybrid to stay in front once I was there. Now we can go to Brands Hatch and try and end the season on a high.”
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “I’m very proud of our result in Race One and of the way I’ve driven in terms of getting into the right headspace and really getting the maximum from myself. Craig [Porley – Race Engineer] did a mega job with the BMW and the car was fantastic in both the wet and the dry. We made a good start and then the boost-sensor issue kicked in and that was that. Then I was fired off twice – including one at the last corner of the race that cost me reversed-grid pole. I was really happy with my Race Three progress but then I had another misfire and that limited progress.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “Overall it’s been a good weekend with fourth, fifth and 10th and I’m very much in a group of drivers going for seventh in the Championship at Brands Hatch. The Race Three incident was my fault. I didn’t know I had two cars alongside me so I moved over a little, thinking only one car was there, and suddenly I was spinning. Knowing that slightly dampens the result, because coming from 24th to 10th was very strong and the recovery definitely put a smile on my face. We got the tyre choice right in the wet race, but we made minimal set-up changes all weekend – that’s how good the balance was.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “It’s been an up-and-down day, again. After switching to wets on the formation lap in Race One and then getting punted into a spin in the gravel in Race Two, my hybrid failed on the first lap of Race Three so I had no straightline speed and had to manage the compromise between driving in the tow to stay with the other cars, and deal with the rising water temperature that comes with driving in hot air. It’s disappointing because I had the same issue in qualifying and it’s really cost me, but the balance of the BMW has been great so that should make us fast at Brands Hatch.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Winning twice at a track that we have to work really hard at to be at the front, and scoring BMW’s 150th BTCC win at the same time, is an excellent achievement for the day. To virtually double BMW’s Manufacturers’ points lead as well is event better. It should have been an even better day because the handling of the BMW – which is always good in race trim – was very strong, but we had some trouble with Colin and Stephen both being turned around and Jake having a misfire that cost him a Race Two win and also affected him in Race Three, without which we could have won all three races.”