WSR and BMW have the British Touring Car Championship title on their minds as the series heads to Silverstone this weekend for the penultimate round of the season.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington, Adam Morgan and Stephen Jelley, plus Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill have scored seven wins and 21 podium finishes from the opening 24 races of the season with their BMW 330e M Sport race cars.
This has helped propel BMW to the top of the Manufacturers’ Championship, which WSR are aiming to win for the German brand for a record 10th time.
Silverstone, the self-proclaimed ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ has played a fundamental role in the WSR story; it being the scene of the team’s race-winning debut in British Formula 3 in 1981 and of its first BTCC victory in 1998.
A total of eight victories and 35 podiums have been achieved on its various layouts, including a fabulous win for Jake Hill’s BMW 330e M Sport last year.
Jake, from Kent, is WSR’s leading title challenger currently and sits third in the Drivers’ Championship following a double-podium finish at Donington Park last time out.
The Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport racer has four wins and 10 podiums already in 2023 and was one of the star turns at Silverstone last year, finishing no lower than fourth in any of the races despite being engineered via phone by Craig Porley from a hospital bed.
Like Jake, Team BMW’s Colin Turkington remains in the hunt for a record fifth Drivers’ crown with six races to go.
The Northern Irishman, who lives near Silverstone, was last victorious there in a WSR BMW in 2020 and is fourth in the standings, having taken wins at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Croft this year.
Adam Morgan returned to the podium at Donington Park last time out and was a rostrum-finisher aboard a WSR-built BMW at Silverstone last year.
The Lancashire racer has been on the podium at Silverstone five times in the past seven years and has a best result at the track of second in 2016 and ’18.
Stephen Jelley, whose most recent podium came at Knockhill two rounds ago, has twice finished in the top five at Silverstone and was a triple points-scorer last year.
The Leicester racer is aiming for a strong end to the season as he seeks a top-10 finish in the Drivers’ standings.
HOW TO WATCH
As usual, all three races will be broadcast live on ITV4 HD with coverage starting at 1100 on Sunday. Qualifying will be available via the ITV Sport YouTube channel (UK viewers only) from 1530 on Saturday.
WHAT THEY SAID
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “I can’t wait to hit the track at Silverstone after we had some great success here last year with the victory, podium and lap record. We need to keep the momentum rolling into these last two rounds of the season and I’ll be giving it everything I have to be battling it out at the front of the field once more. The team have been working hard this season to really dial the car in with each passing round and my BMW 330e M Sport has been feeling fantastic so I’m raring to go this weekend.”
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “Because Silverstone is usually quite late in the season, it always feels like we come here with a lot riding on the results so it has the potential to make or break your title challenge if you’re right at the front. This year we’re chasing so we’ll be going flat-out to get everything we can from the weekend, both for the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships, and hope to go to Brands Hatch still in the mix.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “It was great to get back on the podium at Donington after a couple of events away from it, but the truth is that we had the BMW running quickly at Knockhill too – a very different type of track – and it was only bad luck that prevented us having a big score there. Silverstone’s different again, but I was on the podium with the 330e M Sport last year and that versatility of machinery across all those types of tracks should hopefully put us in a position to challenge for some good finishes this weekend.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “The team has done a fantastic job over recent months with the BMW and the handling and performance has been spot on, so I know that when we roll out at Silverstone we’ll be in a good place. We’ve not had the luck of late – at Donington Park we were just off the reversed-grid pole, which would have completely turned our weekend around – but we’ll keep pushing hard at Silverstone and get the best results we can.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We’ve had some incredible moments at Silverstone over the years including our first wins in Formula 3 and touring cars and winning the last two BTCC Super Touring races with Tom Kristensen. But when we roll out for first practice on Saturday, none of that will count for anything. We’re the only ones with two drivers in title contention so we have the potential to gain more than anybody else this weekend. The priority is to win BMW’s record-breaking 10th manufacturers’ title, but the best way to do that is to help all four of our drivers fight as close to the front as they can.”
The ‘Top-10 Showdown’ qualifying format will be used for the final time in 2023 at Silverstone.
At the conclusion of the normal 30-minute session the 10 fastest drivers will have an extra 10 minutes to battle for pole position with their previous times reset.
The amount of the series’ mandatory 30+bhp hybrid-electric power system has also been re-set for Silverstone based on championship positions.
Adam and Stephen will be able to deploy hybrid power once their BMWs reach 115kph. Colin must wait until 130kph, while Jake will be locked out of hybrid deployment until his car has reached 135kph.
Jake will have five seconds of hybrid power available on each qualifying lap with Colin entitled to seven and both Adam and Stephen having 15.
In Race One Jake and Colin will be allowed to use hybrid on only seven and eight laps respectively with Adam and Stephen able to use it on 12 laps each.
Finally the control Goodyear tyre, which is the medium compound this weekend, will be the only dry-weather tyre used at Silverstone.