Team BMW are set to kick off the defence of their Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship titles with both Colin Turkington and Rob Collard in confident moods.

Scoring five wins and a total of 20 podiums between them last year, the West Surrey Racing outfit return to the series looking to add the Drivers’ crown to their collection, something that Turkington narrowly missed out on last year.

Having worked tirelessly over the winter to improve the BMW 1-Series alongside his team-mates, double champion Turkington admits he is excited to kick off the new season.

Looking ahead to the season-opener, Turkington said: “The new season is upon us and starts at Brands Hatch; the same venue at which we clinched the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles last year. I started 2017 with a podium finish on the Indy Circuit on my return to the team after a couple of years away and based on our recent tests I’m confident once again in the machinery underneath me.

“The BMW is a strong car with great speed and reliability and Team BMW are the best in business. Missing out on the drivers’ crown in the last race of 2017 was a great disappointment, but I like to look forward and this new season offers a shiny new opportunity to show what we can do.”

Enjoying what was arguably his best BTCC season to-date last year, Hampshire-based Collard heads to Brands Hatch this weekend keen to add to his impressive record around the Indy circuit, winning the annual curtain-raiser in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

He said: “Last year was my best BTCC campaign performance-wise and it was bitterly disappointing that injury ruled me out of the final five races and prevented me from taking the title fight down to the wire. I’m fully recovered now and am better-prepared than I’ve ever been for a race season as I aim for the Drivers’ championship.

“Team BMW have worked extremely hard over the winter to improve the car in many different areas and the results have been encouraging in testing. I’ve won three times at Brands Hatch and it’s always been a track at which I’ve been able to show great speed. I’ve no reason to think this weekend will be any different.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography