Team BMW head to Rockingham this weekend with a revised driver line-up as their push for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship continues.
Two-time title-winner Colin Turkington is joined by series debutant Ricky Collard, who will drive the WSR-run team’s second BMW 125i M Sport while regular driver Rob Collard recovers from a concussion sustained at Snetterton.
Colin, from Portadown, Northern Ireland, was a double-winner at Rockingham on his way to the 2014 crown and was a podium-finisher last year at the 1.9-mile circuit in Northamptonshire.
His six podiums and one win so far this year have put him second in the Drivers’ standings, meaning he carries 66kg success ballast into the weekend.
Twenty-two-year-old Ricky, a BMW Motorsport Junior driver, regularly competes in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup and has never raced in the BTCC.
The Hampshire driver has driven the 125i M Sport in tests and shakedowns and was a winner at Rockingham in the BTCC-supporting Formula 4 British Championship in 2015 and in the BRDC F3 Championship the following season.
As a debutant in the series, Ricky must carry 45kg ‘newcomer’ ballast in his car across the entire weekend.
The Rockingham triple-header on August 11-12 is the seventh 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: “It feels like we are well into the second half of the 2018 season now but there are still lots of points up for grabs. Consistency will be key throughout the next few events and I expect the ebb and flow of points between the main contenders to be a recurring feature! The level of competition is fierce and it’s our priority to be on the hunt for gains. We’ve been in this position several times as a team before and this is something we’ll aim to use to our advantage. It is a great shame to lose Rob from the squad but I’m pleased to have Ricky on board at Team BMW and I’m sure that together we can maintain the push for the title.”
Ricky Collard said: “I’ve been around the BTCC paddock throughout my childhood and teenage years watching Dad race – mostly with WSR – and I’ve been desperate to compete in the series for a long time, especially for a team with their record of success. While I never wanted my debut to be under circumstances like this, Team BMW are one of the best in the BTCC, have won the championship for the past two seasons and are right in the thick of the title battle again. My target is to do the best job I can and help score as many points as possible for the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ championships.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “It’s the business end of the season now and the rounds are coming thick and fast with three race weekends in just over a month making it incredibly tough on everybody. Rockingham has been a circuit where we’ve managed to win four times in the past four seasons by making sure the BMW has been fast at the critical point and taking our opportunities. Colin is a master of this while I’m sure Ricky will also do a very good job. He’s tested for us before and the level of his technical feedback is extremely impressive for a driver of his age. We are not expecting any miracles on his debut, as we all know too well that the BTCC is a very competitive championship.”