Team BMW and Colin Turkington continue their fight for the British Touring Car Championship at one of the most iconic circuits in the world, Silverstone, this weekend.
The Northern Irishman has taken his WSR designed-and-run BMW 330i M Sport to five wins and seven podium finishes this season and leads the championship with just a pair of triple-header race weekends to go as he hunts a record-equalling fourth title.
He heads the standings by 10 points from Andrew Jordan – whose BMW Pirtek Racing 3 Series is also run by WSR – while the top four drivers are separated by just 30 points with 134 still available this year.
That form, coupled with that of team-mate Tom Oliphant, has kept BMW at the head of the Manufacturers’ Championship for the past five events while Team BMW hold second place in the Teams’ standings.
Colin has finished on the podium 11 times at Silverstone during his career; his highlights including a treble rostrum in 2014, but he must carry the maximum 54kg success ballast as the points leader, making his car the heaviest on the grid.
Team-mate Tom showed race-winning speed last time out at Knockhill and became the first driver in 2019 to set the fastest lap in two races on the same day.
While that pace was not rewarded with the result it merited, the Leamington Spa driver arrives at Silverstone high on confidence and determined to add to the pair of podium finishes his he recorded in his first season in a rear-wheel-drive touring car.
Tom, who is free of success ballast, scored a pair of points finishes at Silverstone last year on his first appearance there as a BTCC driver and was also victorious on his way to the Ginetta G55 Supercup title in 2015.
Silverstone is a hugely significant circuit for WSR for it was at the Northamptonshire venue where the team made a race-winning Formula 3 debut in 1981 and secured their first BTCC victory in 1998.
The Silverstone triple-header on September 28-29 is the ninth of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in eight circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.
Colin Turkington, Driver, Team BMW, said: “We’ve been strong and able to hunt out good results everywhere we’ve been this year, so I’m feeling confident about Silverstone. A final couple of race weekends of the season are always a little bit different; the formbook tends to go out of the window and it’s a question of grinding out results, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. I’m not focusing on protecting my lead anymore – I’m going out there to properly attack and really enjoy the weekend, and in many respects, that is a simpler approach than keeping a constant eye on your mirrors. Every point will be crucial now and I’ve just got to go for it, which has always been the way I prefer to race. I expect qualifying to be tough because the whole grid has tightened up this year. The success ballast will certainly hurt and shuffle the pack, but my job is to deliver the best lap time I can and then move forward in all three races.”
Tom Oliphant said: “I’m fired-up for Silverstone and the dynamics of the BMW 3 Series should suit it a bit more than the 1 Series did. Qualifying strongly will be important. With everybody so closely-matched, if you want to race at the front, you need to start towards the front. With no weight in my car, I really need to make the most of that. I’ve always gone well there and scored a couple of good results last year. I really want to challenge for my first win. I feel like I’ve shown glimpses of what I can do, but it’s not all come together yet. With just Silverstone and Brands GP now left, I’m looking forward to signing off the season on a high.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “The same points are available at Silverstone as anywhere else, so it’s very important to treat this as just another race weekend and not think too much about the title battle. That’s not an easy thing to do with Colin leading the standings, but we’ve been winning championships for over 35 years and that experience will definitely help us this weekend. Silverstone is simple in layout and rewards a car with strong top speed more than one with excellent handling, so I’d expect the times to be extremely close and the better we can work as a team on-track, the more we should benefit. Colin has a strong podium record here and Tom’s won here in the BTCC support categories and has shown the great speed at the past few events. We’ll focus on maximising every area of the BMW and aim to come away still ahead in the standings.”