Colin Turkington says that driving out of the pit lane at Donington Park with the ‘BMW colours’ adorning his 125i M-Sport earlier this week (16th March) proved to be a real highlight.
Returning to West Surrey Racing after two years away as part of Team BMW, the double champion is relishing the start of the 2017 season as he represents the German marque as a manufacturer driver.
Working through an intensive testing programme at the Leicestershire circuit on Thursday, the Northern Irishman has been left pleased with the progress that has been made so far but adds that there is always room for improvement.
“To have driven that car out of the pit lane in the BMW colours and as a full works’ car was a real special moment,” Turkington said to BTCC Crazy. “I was really pleased to get our first run in the car on UK soil having only tested in Spain before that.
“It was a really productive and busy day. We got through about 75% of our programme and ticked a lot of the boxes off but there is always room for improvement and we will continue to find look for it before round one.
“Looking ahead to the first round, the BMW has always been strong so we should be in the fight towards the front. You only have to look at the grid this year however to see that it is not going to be easy.”
Having last driven the car to the second of his two BTCC titles in 2014, Turkington revealed that the car hasn’t felt too different from the running he has completed behind-the-wheel so far.
Turkington explained: “The car feels similar to how it felt in 2014 but it is hard to really judge because the Dunlop tyre compounds have changed quite a bit in the two years that I have been a way.
“Obviously the car is very good but even when I left to go to BMR there were many improvements that we wanted to make then so we are constantly working hard.
“There is a new engine that we need to get on top of this year and that is a huge leap forward for everyone in the team. Factor in these latest tyre we are using this year and finding the window to get the car to be in the sweet spot has moved from last year and from the last time I raced it.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography