Team BMW aim to continue their history-making run of successes in the British Touring Car Championship in 2023 as the WSR-run operation today (Monday) unveils the liveries of the three BMW 330e M Sport racing cars.
The new-look hybrid 3 Series were revealed at BMW UK headquarters, Farnborough, as the German manufacturer re-affirmed its commitment to the country’s leading motor racing series and to 16-time champions WSR.
With BMW Friend of the Brand Jake Hill also racing WSR-run 3 Series, the Sunbury-on-Thames team are equipped with an exceptional driver line-up as they target a record 10th BTCC Manufacturers’ title for BMW and an eighth in a row.
The BMW 330e M Sport BTCC car, designed, built and operated by WSR, uses the exceptional handling and performance of the multi-award-winning 330e production model and last year – in the hybrid version’s debut season – achieved more wins (nine), pole positions (five), fastest laps (nine) and podium finishes (28) than any other vehicle.
Equipped with the BTCC’s series-mandated Cosworth hybrid-electric system, which combines with the BMW turbocharged B48 two-litre, four-cylinder engine, the BMW 330e M Sport has proven a formidable machine for the all-action nature of the BTCC.
Four-time title-winner Colin Turkington drives the M Performance Parts-liveried BMW 330e M Sport. The Northern Irishman continues his quest to become the series’ first five-time Drivers’ champion having taken second place in the all-time BTCC winners’ list with his 63rd career victory last year.
Leicester’s Stephen Jelley was also revealed with an M Performance Parts BMW. All of Stephen’s BTCC wins have come in BMWs and he aims to add further successes in 2023.
Team newcomer Adam Morgan is behind the wheel of the partner BMW, prominently showcasing team sponsors BMW ProtectX powered by GardX, Allianz Assistance and Enterprise. The Lancashire racer has won 11 BTCC races including three aboard customer WSR-built BMWs since 2021. His addition means Team BMW’s drivers can list 78 series wins between them – numbers unmatched by any other team on the grid.
Rule tweaks to enhance on-track action
Changes to the sporting regulations mean that ‘Top-10 Showdown’ qualifying, in which the regular 30-minute session is followed by an extra period in which the fastest 10 cars battle for pole position, returns at five events.
Also back is the ‘option’ tyre; a faster, less durable alternative to the standard Goodyear race rubber that must be used in one of the three races held at each event*; something that the more strategically-minded teams will seek to make work in their favour. At Croft and Snetterton, three different tyre compounds; hard, medium and soft, must all be used.
The 66th British Touring Car Championship begins on April 22-23 at Donington Park, East Midlands, and takes in eight venues the length and breadth of the country. Each one of the 30 races will be screened live and exclusively in HD on the ITV network.
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We’re extremely proud to continue to represent BMW in the British Touring Car Championship once more. The 2023 season looks set to be the toughest yet with a set of regulation changes should make the competition closer than ever before, but we have an incredible partner in BMW UK and a superb base product that has helped us create the BMW 330e M Sport, as well as a driver line-up that is the envy of the paddock. Our target, as always, is to win the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles, but if we can make BMW Manufacturers’ Champions for a record 10th time – which would also be an eighth successive year – that would make this our best campaign yet.”
Mario Moser, Customer Support Director, BMW Group UK, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with West Surrey Racing [WSR] and are excited for the start of the 2023 BTCC season, where we will strive for success on the track with our BMW 330e M Sport racing cars. The driver line-up for this season is incredibly strong and we have a shared ambition with WSR to win the Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles for 2023. Our race car livery will once again be one of the most iconic designs in the paddock and we look forward to the start of the season at Donington Park.”