Team BMW continue their push for the title this weekend as Oulton Park in Cheshire takes the British Touring Car Championship to the halfway point of its 2019 season.
A second-place finish and three top-six results last time out at Croft propelled Colin Turkington into an 11-point series lead while BMW grabbed the lead of the Manufacturers’ Championship.
With WSR-run Team BMW also holding second place in the Teams’ points table, three-time BTCC champion Colin is aiming for another strong set of performances on the 2.2-mile ‘Island’ layout of the picturesque parkland circuit.
Colin, who is aiming for a record-equalling fourth BTCC crown, has two victories this year in the new BMW 330i M Sport and is a seven-time winner at Oulton Park, including doubles in 2009 and 2014.
For WSR, Oulton Park has also been a happy hunting ground. The Sunbury-on-Thames-based team have recorded 36 podiums and 13 wins in 21 years, including an incredible 1-2-3 finish and double-success last year.
Colin’s position at the top of the points means he carries the maximum 54kg success ballast into the weekend, making his 3 Series the heaviest car on the grid.
Team-mate Tom Oliphant is from nearby Tarporley and has a special connection with his local circuit.
After equalling his career-best BTCC qualifying result with fifth on the grid at Croft and delivering a strong fifth-place finish in the opening race, he once again showed why he is widely tipped to become a race winner in his second season in the series.
The Oulton triple-header on June 29-30 is the fifth 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 said: “I feel happy with where we are with the 3 Series and the development, so the plan is to go into the summer break with the momentum on our side. Oulton Park incorporates some of the most demanding corners in British motorsport such as Cascades and Druids, which require a lot of commitment, and it’s narrower than most tracks, which enhances the sense of speed. You really need to be on point if you want to be on the pace. Going there as championship leader obviously presents its own challenges. It won’t be easy on maximum ballast though.”
Tom Oliphant said: “Oulton Park is very much home turf and I always enjoy going there. It’s one of my favourite tracks. It presents a unique challenge as a driver, and qualifying is a lot of fun as you push yourself and the car absolutely to the limit. Grid position is particularly important there because the narrow track makes it difficult to overtake and you really need to get your elbows out to go forwards but I’ll arrive with no weight in the car, which will definitely be an advantage so I’m focused on starting right at the front. I’m confident the new BMW 3 Series will feel good. I’ve had some terrible luck recently, so what we need above all else is a clean weekend and three consistent finishes”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “Oulton Park has traditionally been a very good circuit for WSR in recent years, but in 2019 the new BMW 330i M Sport has been fast everywhere, so there’s no reason to think we can’t score good points again, provided everybody continues working at the extremely high level we’ve set ourselves. Colin has won here many times in our cars and is always a factor, while Tom grew up near here and is keen to turn his strong qualifying pace into three good results.”