21 MAY BTCC SNETTERTON
WSR-run cars raced to four British Touring Car Championship podium finishes at Snetterton on Sunday as Team BMW collected the award for the top-scoring team of the weekend.
Both Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport’s Jake Hill and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington took their BMW 330e M Sports to a pair of podium finishes each while Stephen Jelley and Adam Morgan produced ultra-consistent scores across the day.
The results of the four BMW 330e M Sports also allowed BMW to close to within three points of the lead of the Manufacturers’ standings at the Norfolk circuit with three of 10 BTCC rounds complete.
Colin and Jake started the opening race from the second row and staked their claims for rostrum results early on as they took full advantage of having chosen the soft Goodyear tyre (on a day when rules dictated that soft, medium and hard compounds were all used).
Jake passed his WSR stablemate at three-quarters distance and chased down the leader; eventually finishing just 0.270s away from victory, while Colin – a 10-time BTCC race winner at Snetterton, was third.
Opting for the medium tyre for Race Two, both drivers found the going tougher, but persevered to again finish second and third.
On both occasions BMW was the winning Manufacturer entrant; the performances of the day meaning the German marque is well and truly in the hunt for a record 10th BTCC Manufacturers’ title and an eighth in a row.
The BMW 330e M Sport has now finished on the podium eight times from the opening three weekends of 2023 with Team BMW moving into second place in the Teams’ standings as a result.
Race Three was the toughest of the day with both drivers on the hard tyre when overcast conditions favoured those on the soft and medium rubber far more than predicted. Colin finished seventh with Jake 10th.
Lancashire’s Adam Morgan moved up a spot from his sixth place on the Race One grid to come home fifth and then finished there again in Race Two.
He battled hard to finish ninth on the hard tyre in Race Three as Team BMW ended the weekend with the Teams’ trophy as the highest-scoring entrant at Snetterton.
Stephen Jelley was one of the undoubted stars of the opening race; the Leicester driver charging through from a season’s-best 10th on the grid to finish sixth with some impressive and clean out-braking moves.
He repeated that result in each of the remaining races to leave Snetterton with his best weekend points haul of 2023 and with seven-place gain in the Drivers’ Standings. He is now 12th overall.
COBRA SEATS CUSTOMER TEAM PROFILE: West Surrey Racing.
Founded by New Zealander Dick Bennetts in 1981, West Surrey Racing (WSR) are one of Europe’s most successful racing teams, having tasted success with World Champion drivers such as Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Tom Kristensen, Nigel Mansell, Allan McNish and Andy Priaulx.
After becoming the most successful team in the British Formula 3 Championship during the 1980s, WSR moved into the British Touring Car Championship and have continued their extraordinary run of success. As well as running race-winning factory BTCC programmes for Ford, Honda, MG and BMW, WSR have taken 16 outright championship titles – including a record-breaking seven Manufacturers’ titles in a row for BMW from 2016 onwards -, nine independents’ crowns and over 100 race victories.
They are also race winners in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Based in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, WSR currently run Team BMW and Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport in the BTCC.
COBRA SEATS CUSTOMER DRIVER PROFILE: Colin Turkington.
Colin Turkington is quite simply one of the greatest drivers in the 65-year history of the British Touring Car Championship; his place in the history books assured by his record-equalling fourth title in 2019.
At the wheel of the WSR BMW 330e M Sport for a fifth straight season, Colin aims to add yet more silverware to his bulging trophy cabinet this year.
His potential clear, Colin met WSR’s Dick Bennetts in December 2001 and was quickly signed up to race one of the outfit’s Team Atomic MGs in the BTCC the following year.
It was with WSR that Colin grew as a driver, claiming his first BTCC win in 2003 and then scooping the Independents’ crown – the first of four he would win with Dick Bennetts’ team in his first year racing a BMW 320si in 2007.
His first outright title came in the same car in 2009 and was followed the next season by a sensational race win in the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Okayama, Japan – also in a WSR BMW.
After two more years racing outside the UK, Colin returned to the BTCC – and to WSR – in 2013 with the all-new BMW 125i M Sport, with which he raced to the 2014 title, and he was back again in 2017 under the newly-established Team BMW banner.
Second in that year’s points was followed by back-to-back titles; firstly in a 2018 season in which he proved that consistency was key as he won only once, but scored 17 top-five finishes aboard the 1 Series, and then in very different circumstances in ’19.
With the brand-new BMW 330i M Sport, designed, built and raced by WSR he won five times to snatch a record-equalling fourth BTCC crown – by a single point – in the closing moments of the final race of the year.
Back-to-back runner-up spots in ’20 and ’21 were followed by an historic occasion last year as he scored his 63rd race victory to sit equal-second on the BTCC’s all-time winners’ list. It’s surely only a matter of time before he secures that spot on his own.