- Oct 27, 2014
Multiple BTCC champions Jason Plato and Colin Turkington are to become teammates at BMR for 2015, while race winner Rob Collard will continue to race with West Surrey Racing.
Only yesterday Autosport hailed the BTCC as behind only DTM in terms of the world’s major touring car series, and was ahead of the larger, more manufacturer-supported World Touring Car Championship. It’s therefore a relief that two of its most important drivers in recent years will still be racing in 2015. The surprise announcement means Plato and Turkington will be driving alongside multiple winner Aron Smith and team owner Warren Scott in BMR’s four Volkswagen CCs. It also confirms that 1997 champion Alain Menu and Jack Goff won’t be returning, and their own future plans are still unclear.
Both champions’ winter breaks were full of uncertainty about where they would go next, given that Plato left Triple Eight’s works MG effort after three years without a championship and Turkington had to leave WSR after title sponsor eBay chose not to renew their deal with the team. This has happened before, when Turkington became champion with WSR as Team RAC in 2009 only for the automotive company to pull out, leaving Turkington unable to find a competitive, well-paid drive for 2010. It seems unthinkable that the Northern Irish driver would miss out on defending his title twice under very similar circumstances, but for a while it looked like a real possibility. Turkington did however state that remaining in the BTCC was his main priority, and being alongside frequent championship rival Plato should be an interesting new challenge. From the press release, Turkington’s immediate concern appears to be mastering the car. “Getting behind the wheel of the Volkswagen is a fresh challenge after seven seasons in rear wheel drive machinery”, he said. “I know that I’ll need to work harder than ever to get up to speed, but I’m extremely motivated to succeed.” Plato sounded even more enthusiastic: “The decision for me to get involved with the outfit just became easier and easier. It’s a fantastic team of people, it’s well funded and it has the right ingredients to bake the best cake there is! It’s something quite serious that Warren has put together, he’s not playing games.”
While Plato and Turkington become new teammates, their former racing partners have themselves teamed up. Collard will begin a sixth season at WSR alongside former MG man Sam Tordoff, both joined by Guernsey touring car ace Andy Priaulx after thirteen years away from the BTCC. Both WSR and BMR are currently testing at Thruxton ahead of the series’ official media day at Donington Park on March 24th.
Watch The Announcement Here!
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