WSR and BMW head to the final round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch this weekend aiming for another place in series history.
Nine wins and 23 podium finishes from the opening 27 races for the hybrid BMW 330e M Sport Colin Turkington, Jake Hill, Stephen Jelley and Adam Morgan have put BMW at the head of the Manufacturers’ title race.
Staying there for just one more weekend would make BMW the first 10-time Manufacturers’ Champions in the series 66-year history and the first to win it eight times in a row.
WSR, who have been responsible for the past seven, have achieved all but one of their 16 BTCC titles at Brands Hatch and the 2.6-mile Grand Prix layout – one of the finest tracks in the world – is once again the stage for the season finale.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington’s Silverstone victory was the 150th for BMW in the BTCC and the Northern Irishman – who has won each of his record-equalling four drivers’ crowns at the Kent circuit – is determined to add to his four victories on the GP circuit.
So is Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill, who finished on the podium twice at last year’s season finale and is aiming to take a first BTCC victory at his home track this weekend to add to the five wins he’s already scored in 2023.
Team BMW’s Adam Morgan enjoyed one of his highest weekend points hauls of 2023 at Silverstone last time out and is targeting a win to end the season on a high. The Lancashire racer’s previously been victorious twice on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy layout.
For team-mate Stephen Jelley, fond memories are associated with the final round as he scored his first BTCC pole position at Brands Hatch in his rookie season in 2008 – again on the Indy layout – and the Leicester driver aims to add to his Knockhill podium this weekend.
All three races will be broadcast live on ITV in HD from 1045 on Sunday while qualifying will, as usual, be available to view on the ITV Sport YouTube channel from 1530.
For the season finale the regular qualifying system will be used, meaning a 30-minute session with unlimited laps for each driver and grid positions determined by fastest times.
The amount of the series’ mandatory 30+bhp hybrid-electric power system has also been re-set for Brands Hatch 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 three and four laps respectively with Adam and Stephen able to use it on eight laps each.
Finally the control Goodyear tyre is the medium compound this weekend, while the soft option tyre must be used by all drivers in at least one of the three races. Drivers will also be able to qualify on either soft or medium compound tyres.
What they said…
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “It’s hard to believe we’re at the final round of the season already as it doesn’t seem more than a few months since we kicked things off at Donington. We’ve had some excellent team results so far with our Silverstone weekend being the best we’ve had there with the BMW 3 Series. We’re well aware that the target at Brands Hatch is to win the Manufacturers’ Championship for BMW and help them break the all-time record. We’ll be going all-out to finish the season on a high and make sure that happens.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “The end of the season has come around so quickly but Brands Hatch is a great spot for a season finale. We’re on the verge of history for BMW, but the best way I can help the cause is to go out and win, which is the same target as every weekend. We had some awful weather for qualifying when we were here on the Indy Circuit in May and a really unlucky incident on Saturday just snowballed across the next 24 hours, so we’re fully focused on making sure we a avoid a repeat and on trying to help BMW win the Manufacturers’ title.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “Brands Hatch is always a nice circuit to end the season with as it’s a good challenge. We’ve shown speed there in the past two seasons, so we’ll be hoping to run inside the top 10 and aim for some positive outcomes during the races. It’s been a bit of a weird year, but I’m enjoying it, and the BMW is handling well, though I just need some luck. I’ve not been quite as competitive as some other cars, but we’ll continue to work hard and see what we can do.”
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “I can’t believe we’re already at the final round of the season. It’s been a year to remember with my highest number of wins in a year and some fantastic races along the way. Brands Hatch is my home event and a circuit I love. It’s my goal to finally get a win here in front of my home support. A huge thank you to Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport and WSR for their efforts at the circuits and behind the scenes – my BMW 330e M Sport has been on rails recently so I’m extremely excited for the weekend.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We have one big target for the weekend and that’s to help BMW take their place in history. As the most successful manufacturer in touring car racing worldwide, it’s an absolute pleasure to represent them in the BTCC and everybody in the team will be working flat-out to achieve this with our four BMW 330e M Sport racing cars. It’s October so we expect the weather to be unpredictable, but we’ve taken a step forwards with the car in wet and damp conditions this year so we’ll cope with whatever Mother Nature throws our way.”