Colin Turkington to defend BTCC title with WSR

Colin Turkington will defend his British Touring Car Championship title with West Surrey Racing after agreeing a deal to remain with the BMW-backed team for 2019.

The Northern Irishman secured his third title in dramatic fashion last season but will now be given the opportunity to defend the crown with the team for the first time – having previously moved on to pastures new after his title wins in both 2009 and 2014.

That comes despite speculation over the winter that had suggested the 36-year-old could be set to follow another BTCC title winner Gordon Shedden in moving to the World Touring Car Cup.

Having instead committed to remaining in the BTCC, Turkington will be seeking to join Andy Rouse as only the second driver to secure four titles during the season ahead, admitting he was ‘hungry for more’ and eager to try secure a place in the series history books.

“My 2018 title was definitely one of my best, and my goal is always to achieve just that; be the best I can in both life and motorsport,” he said. “Becoming a triple champion felt great, but I’m hungry for much more and racing with Team BMW in the BTCC gives me this opportunity.

“Now I have to ask myself ‘how can I improve for this coming season and how can I be a better driver?’. I’m thrilled by the commitment from BMW that allows me to stay in one of the most desired seats in global touring cars and with a team who continue to set the benchmark.

“Team BMW is the place to be and we want to make history together. This is where I’m happiest; with people I trust, and when I’m happy, I perform.”

Team boss Dick Bennetts was delighted to confirm that Turkington would be back to defend his title in 2019.

“I’m extremely pleased that Colin will defend his title with us, allowing WSR to carry #1 on a BTCC car for the first time, and equally proud that BMW has chosen to continue its support of our programme,” he said. “Colin is one of the world’s best touring car drivers and has spent the majority of his career with us, so we’ve developed an environment here that allows us all to get the best out of each other.

“I can’t think of a manufacturer who has achieved more in touring car racing globally than BMW, so to continue to be associated with them in 2019 is a great honour for our team. We’ve won 10 overall BTCC titles in the past 10 seasons – all with BMWs – so to have their continued support in 2019 is a reflection of their belief in our team to get the job done.”

Turkington will be joined in the Team BMW line-up by Tom Oliphant, who moves over from Ciceley Motorsport for his second season in the series.