Team BMW aim to continue their excellent recent British Touring Car Championship momentum as big crowds return to the series for the first time in almost two years at Oulton Park this weekend.
The WSR-run BMW 330i M Sports have won at each of the past two events with Colin Turkington victorious at Snetterton and Tom Oliphant scoring his first success of 2021 last time out at Brands Hatch.
“Oulton Park has traditionally been a circuit where maximising the BMW has given us some very good results and a lot of race wins,” commented Team Principal, Dick Bennetts. “If it’s a hot weekend it should suit us because the BMW has always been kind to its tyres.
“Strategy is going to be extremely important and when you use the option tyre will probably be heavily influenced by where you qualify and how much ballast you’re carrying at any given point. It’s going to make it very exciting for the big crowd we’re expecting trackside.”
Having achieved 15 BTCC wins in total at Oulton Park, WSR want to make the most of the performance offered by their rear-wheel-drive BMW 330i M Sports to eke out an advantage over their rivals.
Tom was the top points-scorer at Brands Hatch as he stormed to his first win of the year and a double-podium finish; his results helping to keep BMW on top of the Manufacturers’ Championship and on course for a record-breaking sixth consecutive title.
The 30-year-old, who grew up just four miles from Oulton Park in Tarporley, climbed six places in the Drivers’ standings last time out to sit sixth overall, meaning he carries 33kg success ballast into the weekend.
That’s 15kg less than team-mate Colin, who is fourth overall with one win and one additional podium to his name this year.
The four-time BTCC champion is one of the most successful drivers in the series at Oulton with 10 wins at the track – nine of which were achieved in WSR BMWs. He also made his BTCC debut there in 2002 with the team.
The Northern Irishman will use all his experience at the track to overturn the memories of a challenging Brands Hatch, where he scored just two points, affected by a ballast-heavy car and contact from a rival that spun him to the rear of the Race-One field.
Stephen Jelley, driving the third BMW, endured a tough Brands Hatch weekend, but showed his overtaking prowess in the final race to pass seven rivals on track.
The Leicester racer’s most recent BTCC win came at Oulton Park in 2019 behind the wheel of a WSR designed & built BMW 125i M Sport and he’s aiming to use his ballast-free 3 Series’ rear-wheel-drive poise to his benefit this time around.
Sunday’s triple-header raceday features the return of the BTCC’s option tyre (the soft tyre on this occasion), which must be used by each driver in one of the three races. The whole day will be broadcast live on ITV4 to an audience of around one million race fans.