Having sorted out its driver lineup for 2017, WSR had another major announcement in store for us all…
BMW has announced that it will return to the BTCC this year as a fully fledged factory outfit with Team WSR, running under the Team BMW banner with its drivers Andrew Jordan, Colin Turkington and Rob Collard. 1996 last saw BMW race in the series as a manufacturer, with Team Schnitzer taking the drivers championship with smokin’ Jo Winkelhock back in 1993. Other notable drivers of the era were Steve Soper and Roberto Ravaglia.
The BMW 125i M Sport cars will run with the German manufacturer’s all new B48 two-litre turbocharged engine, having ran a normally aspirated engine upgraded with a turbocharger in previous years. The announcement gives the BTCC an impressive manufacturer line up with MG, Subaru, Vauxhall and Honda joining the German car manufacturer on the grid as fully fledged work outfits. The announcement means the 2017 BTCC season could well be the best one yet for the series. Managing Director of BMW UK Graeme Grieve had this to say;
“The BTCC is undeniably the most significant race series in the UK with a huge and enthusiastic following. With a legendary record behind us in the series’ history books, and partnering continuously with WSR for a decade, we are delighted to step up as a manufacturer team again after 21 years. BMW UK’s significant financial investment includes the funding of technical developments on all fronts, focused on the very latest BMW engine derivative.”
Team Boss of WSR/Team BMW Dick Bennetts was also enthusiastic, having seen the team’s status upgraded by series officials from a privateer to a Constructor back in 2015 to reflect the technical input from BMW. Now his team has become the new home for the works team’s attack on the championship.
“I reckon that working together successfully as motorsport partners for 10 years is the equivalent of a lifelong marriage. It’s 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.”
Well after all this, can the BTCC get even better? You certainly don’t want to miss this season. It already looks like it is going to be a cracker!