WSR trio excited by new BMW challenge
The three drivers who will get behind the wheel of West Surrey Racing’s BMW 330i M Sport have admitted their excitement at the introduction of the new car.
The defending BTCC champions confirmed that it will switch from the successful 125i M Sport for the 2019 season earlier today, bringing the 3 Series back into the championship for the first time since 2012.
Work is ongoing on the build of the three cars ahead of the new campaign, with a public debut set to take place during the season launch at Brands Hatch in March.
As previously announced, two of the three cars will continue to run under the Team BMW banner, with Colin Turkington joined in a revised line-up by second year racer Tom Oliphant.
The 2019 campaign will mark the first time that Turkington has been able to defend his title in a BMW and he said he was thrilled that it would be in the new 330i.
“As far as pre-seasons go, it doesn’t get much better than this!” he said. “Back in 2009, I clinched my first Drivers’ title in a BMW 3 Series, and to commence a new chapter with the new model for Team BMW is a dream come true. This exciting project has delivered a potent dose of motivation into an already dedicated team and we are inspired to get going.
“It’s a very busy time for the engineering team back at base as they build and develop the cars for the new season, but the expertise is there to get the job done. The new-look road car is stunning and the race car will be something else! It’s an amazing time to be involved and I’m honoured to have this role.”
Oliphant joins the team having made his debut last year in a Ciceley-run Mercedes A Class, and the former Ginetta and Porsche racer admitted he felt a sense of pride at being involved in the development of the new car.
“I’ve grown up watching the BMW 3 Series enjoy incredible success in touring car racing in the UK and around the world, so to be part of this new chapter for BMW and West Surrey Racing as they bring back such an iconic model is extremely exciting,” he said.
“With my experience in Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Ginetta G55 machinery, competing in a rear wheel drive saloon is right up my street and having driven the new BMW 330i road car, I’m confident the race car will be a success from the start.
“To be getting involved is developing a new car in only my second season in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship is an exciting prospect and I look forward to working alongside my team-mates Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan, as well as the superb West Surrey Racing team.
“I’m chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel of the BMW 3 Series for the first time and getting some miles under my best ahead of the new season. It’s an exciting challenge ahead of me and one that I’m relishing.”
WSR’s line-up will once again be completed by Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek BMW Racing-entered car, and the 2013 champion said he felt confident that a strong season lies ahead with the new machine.
“Since our relationship started with Pirtek back in 2005 we have been involved in some very exciting and successful projects. As we enter 2019 and our third year with WSR, the news that BMW are bringing the all-new BMW 3 Series back to the BTCC is not only very exciting, but also something we should all be very proud of.
“To have the Pirtek livery on the latest BMW race car is something that shows all of our hard work over the last 15 years and from a driving point of view I am very excited to be involved in the project from the start.
“WSR are working seriously hard to ensure we hit the ground running come Round One at Brands Hatch, and I am hugely motivated for 2019. I’m looking forward to a winning season with Pirtek, BMW and WSR.”