WSR and BMW ended the 2023 British Touring Car Championship on the top step of the podium as Jake Hill scored a magnificent final-race victory at Brands Hatch.
With Stephen Jelley finishing third in the same race it was a double-podium finish for the BMW 330e M Sport, which finishes the season with 10 victories and 25 podium finishes from the 30 races.
Having finished sixth in each of the day’s earlier two races, Kent racer Jake started the final race fourth and moved up to second at the start. A daring three-wide move between Westfield and Sheen corners at one-third distance put him into a lead he would never cede.
The Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport driver’s sixth win of the year – which was accompanied by the fastest lap – was the 12th of his career and secured third place in the Drivers’ Championship.
An equally punchy performance from Stephen put the Team BMW driver on the podium for the second time in 2023 and capped a fine day’s work by the Leicester racer, who finished eighth and ninth in the earlier two encounters.
Four-time Champion Colin Turkington produced a strong fightback to climb from the back of the grid in the finale to finish 10th, despite his BMW’s hybrid system failing on the formation lap and leaving him without its 30bhp-per-lap boost.
The Northern Irishman started there after being hit from behind on the opening lap of Race Two and suffering suspension damage that eliminated him almost immediately; an incident that ultimately cost BMW the Manufacturers’ Championship. He was fourth in Race One.
Adam Morgan scored points in all three races in the remaining Team BMW 3 Series. The Lancashire racer was hit by several drivers in Race Two, losing a top-10 finish and a likely front-row start in the finale as he fell to 13th by the flag.
He was eighth in the finale, which was two places higher than he managed in Race One.
The BTCC resumes for the 2024 season at Donington Park, East Midlands, on 27-28 April.
Jake Hill (Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport) said: “I’ve been feeling pretty ill this weekend and today especially, but I’m extremely happy right now. To win a race like that is a brilliant way to end any season and do to it at my home track – my first BTCC win here – is even better. I was a bit annoyed in Race Three because I was overtaken after the safety-car boards came out, so I thought ‘you’re getting it back’ and I sent it in pretty hard, but it worked. A huge thanks to WSR and Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport for everything this year. I’m going home happy.”
Stephen Jelley (Team BMW) said: “It’s great to finish the year with a podium after a really fun battle like that. The BMW’s been fantastic today, but when you don’t have a straightline speed advantage it’s hard to come through the field. I was a bit disappointed with qualifying but we knew things would come back to us in race trim and that’s exactly what’s happened. My engineer Andy Miller is retiring after today so I did that one for him.”
Colin Turkington (Team BMW) said: “It’s been a difficult end to the season. We had loads of potential with the BMW, as we saw from the strong fourth place in Race One, but getting taken out on the first lap of Race Two ended our hopes, not just today, but in the Manufacturers’ Championship too. The BMW felt good in Race Three, but I lost hybrid on the formation lap so that limited what was possible. There’ve been a few too many ups and downs today and that’s been the way all season really.”
Adam Morgan (Team BMW) said: “The most frustrating thing was Race Two. I had okay pace but I got nerfed out a few times and there’s no worse feeling than going backwards in a race. That was a shame, but in Race Three with the soft tyres on the BMW felt really strong and as the guys around me were struggling on the mediums I could make some moves. It was a bit tasty, but it was tough touring car racing and I enjoyed it, just as I’ve enjoyed my first year with WSR and Team BMW.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s always a good feeling to end the year with a win and both Jake and Stephen showed excellent speed in that last one. It’s great for both of them to finish off like that, but I’m gutted for Colin because he was looking good in Race Two. It’s a shame to miss what would have been a record-breaking 10th Manufacturers’ title for BMW, but if Colin hadn’t been taken out in Race Two I’m pretty sure we’d have won that. A huge thanks to BMW UK for their support this year; we’re fired-up to come back stronger next year and become champions again.”