Team BMW ready for Silverstone challenge

Team BMW head to Silverstone this weekend determined to try and maintain their lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

The WSR-run team have won four times in 2017 to head the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships and have Colin Turkington and Rob Collard both in the hunt for the Drivers’ title with just two triple-header meetings remaining.

Northern Irishman Colin has scored victories at Donington Park, Thruxton and Croft and arrives at Silverstone second in the standings; 12 points off the series lead with 67 available this weekend.

The two-time BTCC champion has finished on the podium nine times at Silverstone, including a treble in 2014 on his way to that year’s crown. He carries 66kg success ballast into the weekend.

Hampshireman Rob, who lies fourth in the points table, has an equally strong record at Silverstone with seven podium finishes in the past eight years. He carries 48kg success ballast.

Silverstone is an important circuit in WSR's history. The 'Home of British Motorsport' was where the team made a winning debut in British Formula 3 in 1981 with Jonathan Palmer and was the scene of their first BTCC win with Will Hoy in 1998.

Since the BTCC switched to the 1.6-mile National Circuit 12 years ago, WSR have scored 14 podiums including a win in 2015 with the BMW 125i M Sport.

The Silverstone triple-header on September 16-17 is the ninth of 10 events in this year’s BTCC, which takes in nine circuits the length and breadth of the country. Each race will be screened live and exclusively on ITV4 in HD.

Colin Turkington said: “We’re at the business end of the season now and I’m totally focused on achieving my goals. We're in a good position for all three titles and I’ll strive to deliver my best on every front. That’s where having an experienced team like WSR is really going to pay off. We’ve won titles together before and that knowledge and experience will help us tackle this weekend exactly as we need to. Silverstone’s layout promotes close laptimes, so you really have to be at the top of your game and drive with absolute precision. I'll aim to get as far up the grid as I can in qualifying and take it one race at a time after that.”

Rob Collard said: “I have a strong record at Silverstone with seven podiums in the past eight years and that gives me confidence, even though I’m carrying 48kg ballast. There are only four corners so the cars tend to be very close in qualifying and bunch-up quite a lot in the races. This is where having a car like the BMW, which handles brilliantly and is kind on its tyres over a race distance, should put me in a good position. I’m 56 points off the championship lead, so I’m going to attack hard and aim to stay in the title hunt by Sunday night.”

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “The same points are available at every BTCC round, so it’s very important to treat Silverstone as just another race weekend and not think too much about the title battle. That’s not an easy thing to do, but we’ve been winning titles for over 35 years and that experience will definitely help us this weekend. Silverstone’s National Circuit is simple in layout, so I’d expect the laptimes to be extremely close. Colin and Rob have strong podium records here, and with a lot of ballast on both cars, we have to focus on optimising every area.”