Colin Turkington rocked the BTCC driver market at the start of the year after announcing he was leaving Team BMR. The Northern Irishman has now found his ‘new’ home, a return to Team WSR where he won his two titles.
Turkington has spent three quarters of his BTCC career at WSR, racing for the team in nine seasons in the tin-top series. He took the title in 2009 & 2012 with them and has taken 30 wins with the team as well. Having joined BMR in 2015, it looked like a real title charge with the Subaru was on the cards after a strong end to 2016. But, a turbulent end to the year meant he left in January. Now, he is back in a very familiar car with many familiar faces around him.
“It feels fantastic to rejoin WSR for the 2017 season and I couldn’t be more excited about my return”
“From my debut in touring cars in 2002 right through to winning my second BTCC title, it’s been like a second home for me and my greatest achievements in motor racing have all come with them.”
Out of all the seats available to Turkington after his departure, the only two that were likely to be his eventual destination was the factory MG Triple Eight team and of course WSR. But it’s the latter that is the right place for the two time champion. For starters, Turkington is extremely good behind a rear-wheel-drive contender . His 2015 season in BMR’s front-wheel-drive VW was not as strong as his 2014 or 2016 campaigns in the rear-wheel-drive BMW or Subaru. He won just four races that year, compared to five in 2016 and eight in 2014. A switch to MG would of course have meant another front-wheel driven car, and this is probably not a challenge Turkington wants again. WSR is also full of people he knows very well and he departed the team on good terms. It was a simple case of they couldn’t put the finances together, but team boss Dick Bennetts was more than happy to have Turkington back on board.
“His performances with various WSR BMW’s have been extremely strong and he’s been a key part of our most successful seasons in the BTCC in 2009 and 2014.”
“There’s definitely a sense of unfinished business as, despite our intentions, commercial reasons meant we weren’t able to stay together to defend our championships.
With Andrew Jordan in one of the other cars, WSR head into the 2017 BTCC season with an enviable line-up, although their third driver remains unconfirmed. More than likely, this is going to be Rob Collard, who has shown loyalty to the team and vice-versa. His performances in recent years have been brilliant and his personality would be missed if he were to leave the sport. But for Turkington, it is more than just a return home. It is the right choice in that you wouldn’t bet against him being in the title fight. He is simply a demon in the beamer.