BMW are accomplishment the allowances of accord in the BTCC with the UK-based arm of the German marque adequate abiding success in the alternation and announcement to bags of abeyant buyers simultaneously. Aggregation BMW, in affiliation with West Surrey Racing, are currently the ascendant force in the championship acknowledgment to the achievement of their new 3 Series.
Launched at the alpha of the 2019 season, the 330i M Activity archetypal anon propelled Colin Turkington to his fourth BTCC appellation and the Northern Irishman is top of the standings amid through the 2020 attack abaft the caster of the glassy saloon.
Seen as a accustomed development of the badly acknowledged 1 Series, which registered afterwards Aggregation and Architect titles for WSR and Aggregation BMW in 2017 and 2018 – and additionally helped Turkington assure the Drivers’ acme in the closing – the latest archetypal has captured the acuteness of motorsport admirers who covet a alley car with antagonism pedigree.
Also accessible as a appalling high-performance Touring estate, BMW UK are announcement their newest absolution through on-track arete while additionally continuing to body on a arresting BTCC bequest and an enviable acceptability amid the alternation fanbase.
BMW were a key actor in the Super Touring era of the 1990s, accidental to what abounding see as the celebrity years of the championship.
Runaway advance from aggressive manufacturers eventually accepted unsustainable, with about all above marques including Audi, Ford, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Volvo affairs out, but a adjustment check has apparent a abiding accretion during the accomplished 15 years as arch car makers appear aback into the fold.
BMW accept been at the beginning of this charge, clearly re-entering the BTCC in 2017 to claiming the ascendancy of Honda, and their accommodation to articulation up with accustomed touring car accouterments WSR has paid off handsomely.
WSR are in their 25th division of the BTCC and accept won 12 titles (including Teams, Manufacturers and Drivers), all accomplished while active BMW machinery.
Turkington, who has recorded 38 of his 53 BTCC wins in BMWs, told Express Sport: “My aboriginal touring car career was front-wheel drive but as anon as WSR got the BMWs in 2007 I anon acquainted at home.
“Rear-wheel drive is article that puts a smile on anybody’s face, like if they’re actuality a bit adventurous about a roundabout! It’s added fun, and that’s why we started motorsport – to accept fun.
“The 3 Alternation for me is an change of the 1 Series; it was an change of aggregate we knew and a footfall bigger in every department.
“When bodies see the racecar, it makes them appetite a 3 Series. I anticipate bodies are admiring to what they see on the ambit because it’s acceptable and it’s a acceptable attractive car.”
In accession to actuality quick and eye-catching, the new BMW 3 Alternation is additionally reliable with WSR’s leash of cars active a accumulated absolute of 88 contest out of 90 aftermost year with no automated failures (Andrew Jordan missing two starts due to blow damage) while Turkington and Tom Oliphant accept connected that trend this appellation with accession 24 problem-free events.
While on-track achievement is a antecedence for all BTCC teams, this year’s architect crop of BMW, Honda, Toyota, Vauxhall and Infiniti are ultimately in the championship to advice advertise alley cars so bulletproof believability is a huge asset.
Turkington, who is able-bodied acquainted of his business albatross apropos assurance with -to-be buyers, said: “This is a massive allotment of our focus and what we do on amusing media platforms is a key basic of our weekend.
“It’s about agreeable with admirers and we do that a lot through adumbration so that’s article that we are actual acquainted of. It helps aback you’ve got a beauteous attractive car to comedy with.
“It’s consistently at the beginning of your apperception that BMW has a massive afterward and a massive ancestry in BTCC which I’m advantaged to booty a handle of and booty the billy from guys like Jo Winklehock and Steve Soper. Now is my time and eventually it wont be so I’m adequate the moment.”
Turkington’s team-mate Oliphant, now in his additional division with WSR and Aggregation BMW, holds a agog absorption in the banking ancillary of motorsport and has masters degrees in Engineering and Business while he additionally runs his own PR and Business firm.
“The business ancillary of antagonism is article that I’ve consistently loved,” said the 30-year-old.
“I adulation the business of motorsport so actuality able to accord with BMW and speaking to managing administrator Graham Grieve and business administrator Michelle Roberts is agitative and blood-tingling for me. It’s allotment of what I adore about racing.
“BMW accord us the adeptness to body an amazing car and they accord us the admission to the technology to potentially accretion an advantage over non-manufacturer teams.
“It’s a absolute advantage to represent BMW, and Colin and I get to do some alarming promotional stuff. We get to drive absurd cars – I’m currently in an M5 Antagonism which is my dream car and article which I would apparently accept to delay a continued time to be able to buy so to be able to drive that and acquaintance that is phenomenal.
“All the drive canicule we do with them, and all the promotional actuality affair new bodies is absolutely exciting. I feel like it adds to our experience, gives us added publicity and ultimately gives our sponsors added publicity.”
Like all sport, the BTCC was acutely impacted by the coronavirus crisis and has been affected to badly abbreviate the accepted division while government restrictions accept prevented admirers from accessory events.
Several drivers including touring car figure Jason Plato and 2013 best Jordan fabricated the accommodation to cull out of this year’s competition, while a cardinal of teams accept struggled to allure sponsors in the present climate.
Dick Bennetts, who founded WSR as a single-seater chase aggregation in 1981 afore entering the BTCC in 1996, said: “Going antagonism is abundant but the arresting affair is no hospitality.
“One of the better things we’re missing is not actuality able to accompany our important audience and sponsors to the track, because commonly BMW absorb them. It’s arresting for them, as able-bodied as our abate abstruse partners.
“But BMW accept been actual understanding. We’re currently aboriginal and fourth, we’re arch the teams and arch the manufacturers so the achievement is activity fantastically.
“BMW as a aggregation are actual good, and they accept a motorsport background. I’ve had a continued and claimed affiliation with bodies in Munich, dating aback to the 1970s aback I acclimated to assignment for Ron Dennis and we accumulated the M1 Pro cars.”
Bennetts is article of a fable in the apple of motorsport, accepting formed with the cast of Aryton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine during the aboriginal years of their careers in F3, F3000 and the Marlboro Young Driver program.
When asked what he currently drives to and from the BTCC paddock, the New Zealander appear that he advanced piloted the aforementioned 330i that WSR are currently antagonism with but now has a BMW X4M.
“The one afore that was an M5 competition, and that’s the best car I’ve anytime driven,” said Bennetts. “625 horsepower, eight-speed automatic, absurd brakes, abundant attractive car, sounds fantastic, yet if you don’t advance it its quiet and comfortable. It’s so adequate for a high-performance car.”
In accession to the 330i apparent at the arch of the BTCC pack, BMW accept afresh launched their latest 3 Alternation Touring which has all the achievement of the alehouse archetypal with the acumen of an estate.
This articulation amid racetrack and alley is a key basic of the German manufacturer’s BTCC business strategy, while endorsements from able drivers such as Turkington and Oliphant alone addition the marque’s affairs of alluring buyers.
“I’m chauffeured a lot of the time by the wife, but we accept an X5,” accepted Turkington.
“It is the absolute car for us, abnormally with four of us activity to racetracks we can ample the boot. What we like best about the X5 is the eyes and comfort: actuality able to sit up aerial and still go at the acceleration you appetite to.
“I’ve been advantageous to sample best of the BMW cast but I adulation the X5 because it encourages me not to acceleration and not to go too fast, you aloof appetite to cruise. That’s perfect, I do my antagonism on the track.”
Turkington is absolutely accomplishing that this season, with the 38-year-old 10 credibility bright at the top of the Driver’s Standings with 15 contest remaining.
A fifth BTCC acme would see him affirmation the absolute almanac for best titles advanced of Andy Rouse, but it is not article the BMW brilliant is absent about.
He said: “It’s not in my apperception at all. For me that’s accepting so far ahead. BTCC is such a step-by-step activity which you accept to booty one race, one weekend at a time.
“The focus for me is accepting into that final day still with a acceptable algebraic adventitious and again accomplishing your best job on the day. You can’t anticipate about possibilities or anticipate too abundant about the approaching in BTCC because abominably the rug gets pulled from beneath you so quickly.
“It’s such a boxy aggressive alternation and every year the filigree is condensed. You are consistently accepting to advance yourself alfresco of your abundance zone.
“You accept to cede a lot in agreement of activity and focus and it’s boxy to do that every year, to be active activity on the limit.
“Of advance I’m not cerebration about endlessly though, aback you’re in the best car with the best aggregation that’s not in your alertness at all.
“I’ll accumulate activity as continued as I’m aggressive and as continued as I’m adequate it. Apparently aback Dick stops, I’ll stop!”
The 2020 BTCC division continues with Rounds 13, 14 and 15 at Thruxton on September 20. Catch up with all the activity so far on BTCC.net and ITV.com/btcc.