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      02-24-2017, 11:35 AM   #1
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Thumbs up BMW Returns to 2017 British Touring Car Championship, After 21 Years Absence

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BMW Returns to 2017 British Touring Car Championship, After 21 Years Absence
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February 24, 2017

• Returning as a Manufacturer Team after 21 years.
• Marking ten years relationship with West Surrey Racing.
• Welcoming back 2014 BTCC Champion, Colin Turkington.
• Celebrating signing of multiple BTCC Independent Drivers Champion, Andrew Jordan.
• Renewing seven year WSR deal with Series’ favourite, Rob Collard.
• The Series commences at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 1-2 April 2017.


A further chapter in BMW’s illustrious history in touring car racing unfolded today as BMW UK, in partnership with West Surrey Racing (WSR), announced a three-car team that will again bid for victory of the 2017 British Touring Car Championship.

The announcement of TEAM BMW is a landmark occasion, marking BMW’s return to the country’s best-watched motor race series as a manufacturer team. It has been 21 years since the marque last contested the series in this manner, when BMW Team Schnitzer fielded a BMW 320i line-up.

Graeme Grieve, CEO of BMW Group UK, commented: “The BTCC is one of the most significant race series in the UK and has a huge and enthusiastic following. With a history of success and the continuous support of WSR for the past decade, we are delighted to step up as a Manufacturer Team again after 21 years.”

BMW UK’s significant financial investment in the BTCC team includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.

At the launch at BMW Park Lane, London, Graeme Grieve joined WSR Team Principal, Dick Bennetts, to remove the wraps from one of the three BMW 125i M Sport team cars that will contest the 2017 BTCC. With the cars freshly-developed, prepared and run again by WSR, BMW’s return to the Series as a Manufacturer coincides with a further landmark, marking a decade since WSR first contested the BTCC with BMW, which has endured to this day.

The BMW relationship with Dick Bennetts’ Sunbury-based operation in the BTCC was established in 2007, where they claimed both the Independent Drivers and Teams Championships. They repeated the feat in 2008 and went on to take the overall BTCC Drivers’ title in 2009, and added a driver and team double crown in 2014.

Dick Bennetts remarked: “I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for ten years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It is a tribute to BMW’s product and commitment, and we are delighted to once again represent the marque as they return with increased commitment as a Manufacturer in the BTCC.”



Significantly, the driver roll of honour for each of the three BTCC Independent, Overall and Teams Championship victories fell to Northern Ireland’s Colin Turkington.

Turkington has spent nine of his 12 BTCC seasons with the WSR-BMW team, during which he scored 26 wins over five seasons. Now, two years after claiming the outright Drivers Championship at the wheel of a previous-generation BMW 125i M Sport, he returns to the rear-wheel drive TEAM BMW with renewed vigour.

Driver talent runs deep in BMW’s 2017 BTCC campaign. Joining Turkington is Andrew Jordan, 2013 BTCC Overall Drivers Champion and three-time Independent Drivers Champion - who brings with him long-term personal sponsor, Pirtek. Completing the trio is Rob Collard, a BTCC followers’ favourite and the Series’ legendary overtaker who, after his most competitive season to date in 2016, marks the tenth consecutive year he has driven a BMW in the BTCC, the last seven with WSR.

Last year, the trio of WSR-prepared BMW 125i M Sport cars contributed to a nail-biting finale that went down to the wire at the final round. Team driver Sam Tordoff was pipped at the post for the overall driver’s title, just two points shy of victory. Nevertheless, the WSR BMW team claimed a double title success at the conclusion of the series, taking the BTCC Constructors crown and the Teams’ Championship once again.

Entering the 2017 season of the super-competitive BTCC, TEAM BMW has heavyweight success behind it, increased financial and technical investment from BMW UK, the skills, consistency and superb track record of West Surrey Racing, and a driver trio that collectively represents the most powerful line-up in this year’s BTCC series.




The history behind the success: WSR and BMW

A switch to BMW machinery in 2007 marked the start of the most successful chapter in WSR’s touring car history. Colin Turkington became independents’ champion in his first season with the BMW 320si and added an overall title in ’09 and a race win in the FIA World Touring Car Championship for WSR the following year.

Replacing the 320si model with the new BMW 1 Series for 2013 paved the way for another overall title for Turkington in 2014. He also won the independents’ title – the fifth for a WSR driver in 11 seasons – and helped the team add a fourth independent teams’ crown in the same year.

The 2015 season brought race victories for WSR’s three drivers; Rob Collard, Sam Tordoff and Andy Priaulx while Collard, Tordoff and Jack Goff combined to win the constructors’ and teams’ championships in 2016; the latter under the Team JCT600 with GardX banner.

TEAM BMW: Driver biographies 2017 British Touring Car Championship

ROB COLLARD

Nationality: British
DOB: 1st October 1968
Age: 48
Born: Hampshire
Lives: Eversley

BTCC History:

BTCC Debut: Oulton Park, 29 May 2000
BTCC starts: 427
BTCC wins: 13
BTCC podiums: 53
Fastest laps: 15

Drivers Titles:

(2016 Dunlop MSA BTCC #ForeverForward Trophy winner)
2003 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers’ Trophy



ANDREW JORDAN

Nationality: British
DOB: 24th May 1989
Age: 27
Born: Sutton Coldfield
Lives: Lichfield
BTCC History
BTCC Debut: Brands Hatch, 30th March 2008
BTCC starts: 265
BTCC wins: 16
BTCC poles: 6
BTCC podiums: 53
Fastest laps: 16

Drivers Titles:

2016 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy
2013 Dunlop MSA BTCC Drivers Championship
2013 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy
2012 Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers Trophy
2007 British Rallycross Supercar Championship
2005 British, BTRDA & Super Series Junior Rallycross Championships
2005 Ginetta Winter Series
2004 BTRDA Junior Rally Championship
2003 Winter Junior Rallycross Championship



COLIN TURKINGTON

Nationality: British
DOB: 21st March 1982
Age: 34
Born: Newry, County Down
Lives: Portadown, County Armagh

BTCC History:

BTCC Debut: Oulton Park 21st April 2002
BTCC starts: 333
BTCC wins: 41
BTCC poles: 17
BTCC podiums: 110
Fastest laps: 39

Driver titles:

2016 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th Drivers Championship
BRDC Silver Star Winner
2015 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 4th Drivers Championship
Independent Drivers Champion
2014 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 1st Champion
Independent Drivers Champion
Autosport National Driver of the Year
BRDC Silver Star Winner
2013 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship
2011 SCANDINAVIAN TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship
2011 World Touring Car Championship - 3 Events (1 podium finish)
2010 FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6 Events
(4 podiums including 1 win – Japan)
2009 HiQ MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 1st Champion
Independent Drivers Champion
BMW Sports Trophy winner
Autosport National Driver of the Year
2008 HiQ MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP - 4th Drivers Championship
Independent Drivers Champion
2007 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 5th Drivers Championship
Independent Drivers Champion
BMW Sports Trophy Winner
3rd WTCC Race of Great Britain
8th WTCC Race of Macau
2006 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 3rd Drivers Championship
2005 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6th Drivers Championship
2004 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 6th Drivers Championship
2003 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 8th Drivers Championship
2002 DUNLOP MSA BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – 14th Drivers Championship
2001 FORD FIESTA ZETEC S CHAMPIONSHIP – Champion


The Series commences at the opening rounds at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit on 1-2 April 2017.


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      02-24-2017, 11:53 AM   #2
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So awesome!
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      02-24-2017, 12:07 PM   #3
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Put an s55 in that thing, make it street legal, and send me one! Take my money!!!!
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      02-24-2017, 12:10 PM   #4
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This is a very good reason for BMW fans and racing fans to follow the series on this side of the pond.

BMW UK has probably been pushing this for a while.

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      02-24-2017, 12:30 PM   #5
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Put an s55 in that thing, make it street legal, and send me one! Take my money!!!!
I agree!
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      02-24-2017, 01:36 PM   #6
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This is a nice surprise
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      02-24-2017, 01:52 PM   #7
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Very cool, remember the 320's very well. BTCC was probably my favorite PS1 game too! Will be searching out the coverage in the US...

They producing any clothing?

The 125i looks sharp.
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      02-24-2017, 01:52 PM   #8
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very cool. looks like a modern day version play off of the Z3 M Coupe
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      02-24-2017, 02:08 PM   #9
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Are those halogen headlights?!
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      02-24-2017, 02:13 PM   #10
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Are those halogen headlights?!
Weight! Every ounce matters apparently.

Very exciting news, I love the 125i hatch, wish they brought it over here built exactly like that!

Representing 1er owners!
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      02-24-2017, 03:01 PM   #11
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Looks like a right animal.

I'll be tuning in. Love the rough & tumble of the BTCC
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      02-24-2017, 03:19 PM   #12
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Does anyone know the supplier of the rims?
It will be pretty interesting to follow. 😎
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      02-24-2017, 03:20 PM   #13
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This is awesome news!
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      02-24-2017, 04:23 PM   #14
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BRILLIANT NEWS.

...and what a 1 series makeover
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      02-24-2017, 05:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray_Panther View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by clbmw View Post
Are those halogen headlights?!
Weight! Every ounce matters apparently.

Very exciting news, I love the 125i hatch, wish they brought it over here built exactly like that!

Representing 1er owners!
Respect earned the right way. Winning.
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      02-24-2017, 06:57 PM   #16
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I find myself liking hatchbacks more and more
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      02-24-2017, 10:46 PM   #17
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This would be a move in the right direction for bmw to get back into the thick of what truly matters in a small car
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      02-24-2017, 10:48 PM   #18
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Great!~

Good luck.
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      02-25-2017, 01:38 AM   #19
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eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! it's a cute car!
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      02-25-2017, 01:55 AM   #20
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Great news. Good luck!
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      02-25-2017, 09:03 AM   #21
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Great to see this. I'll have to see if I can find the BTCC streaming online. I wish they brought tge f21 125i m sport stateside. We need a new 1 series. The 135i is definitely a quiet cult following.

Wonder what the specs are under the hood?

Teams have the option of running either TOCAs unbranded NGTC-spec engine or, whether privateer or full manufacturer-backed entries, developing their own powerplant to the regulations, as long as it is from the same as their chosen model of car all are 350+bhp 2-litre turbo-charged engines.

Stock the 125i isn't bad but wonder if it's tuneable to 350hp

2016 125i B48
224 PS (165 kW; 221 hp)@5200,
310 Nm (229 lbft)@1400-5000


Last edited by Gangplank; 02-25-2017 at 09:56 AM.
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      02-25-2017, 10:21 AM   #22
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BMW WSR 125i launch (long video)

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