Colin Turkington Q&A
btcc.net caught up with 2009 BTCC champion Colin Turkington to discuss his return to the championship in 2013. We also asked our fans to get involved via Twitter and Facebook, and posed some of their best questions to Colin too…
How does it feel to be a BTCC driver again?
“I am absolutely delighted to be back in the BTCC and to be reunited with West Surrey Racing, eBay and BMW. I didn’t think it would take so long to come back of course, particularly after winning the championship, but despite that it feels fantastic and natural to return to the BTCC and this team.”
The level of interest following the announcement has been huge. You must be pretty overwhelmed with the support?
“It has been an incredible response since the announcement on Friday, which just goes to show the power of the BTCC. To see that the championship was trending on Twitter largely due to my return was actually pretty overwhelming. It is very humbling for me but I have always had great support from the fans. I don’t think a week has passed since 2009 when someone hasn’t contacted me to ask when I’ll be back, so it’s great to be able to finally say that I am!”
Were there times where you wondered if your chance would come again in the BTCC, or has it simply been a case of waiting for the right opportunity?
“It wasn’t easy to sit on the sidelines of course, although it’s a little easier if you have a different racing programme to focus on. I had that with the STCC (Swedish Touring Car Championship) and with the occasional WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) round, but there were times where it was a bit frustrating. Now just feels like the ideal time to return however and importantly with the right opportunity – working on a new project and car, but with a team who I know and trust so much.”
Despite the team switching to an all-new car for 2013, how do you feel that your collective experience racing a BMW will help?
“I have every confidence that the team will build a great car. Of course the competition were able to gain some experience with their respective NGTC cars last season, but we have the skills and qualities within our team to hopefully be competitive from the outset. We’re expecting the cars to be finished in late February/early March, so we’re also hoping to have four weeks to work on things before the opening round of the season. The team has the experience of using the NGTC engine and gearbox already, so it’ll mainly just be a case of getting on top of the new chassis.”
What are your ambitions for the season ahead and have you allowed yourself to begin dreaming of another title challenge?
“Despite being confident that we will have a great car, of course you have to keep your expectations in check. We won’t really know where everyone stands until the cars hit the track, and I know that the competition will be fierce. It will be no less tough than it was in 2009, and believe me that was difficult! We will just keep our heads down, work hard and, hopefully, be rewarded with some great results when the season gets underway.”
With your signing there are going to be at least four BTCC champions on the grid this year – are the more experienced drivers going to have it all their own way or do you see some of the other teams/drivers posing a threat? (asked by Phiona Rae via Facebook)
“I think at this stage of any year you will also think of the usual guys being up at the front, but I expect there to be many different race winners in 2013. We’ve obviously had rules like the reverse grids for some time, but now the new soft tyre rule will also add an extra element to the competition at the front. I am sure that the obvious names won’t have it all their own way – the top ten is going to be so close and it’s difficult to single anyone out in particular.”
What is your favourite circuit and corner on the BTCC calendar? (asked by Ryan Donaldson via Twitter and Philip Gerard via Facebook)
“I have always loved Croft. It’s the closest track to my home, which may have something to do with it, but seriously it’s a great circuit. Croft is fast, but also technical, and it’s usually a good place for BMW.
“In terms of corners, I would have to go for Clearways at Brands Hatch. Looking back that corner has provided a number of definitive moments in my career.”
Are you ready for the on-track action of the BTCC or will you be a bit race rusty for the first few rounds? (asked by Les Hayes via Facebook)
“The cut and thrust of the BTCC will be a bit of a shock initially but then I am sure it’ll feel like I’ve never been away once we start rubbing doors! I obviously had a full season in STCC and competed in the WTCC too, so I don’t believe it’ll take me too long to get back into the swing of things.”
How hard is it going to be to develop a new car and get on the pace against others who have data from last year? (asked by Dava via Twitter)
“The engineering capability of WSR/eBay Motors is huge. With this team behind me I am fully confident that we will get up to speed as quickly as possible. Remember we also have a three-pronged attack with Rob (Collard) and Nick (Foster) too, so that adds to both the data and experience that we can quickly get into the car. As I said before, you can never say 100 per cent where everyone is going to be in terms of their competitiveness, but we have the right skills and machinery to deliver.”
Having been away from the series for three years, what are you most looking forward to on your return in 2013? (asked by Nikki Thompson via Twitter)
“West Surrey Racing catering! This may surprise people but it’s absolutely top notch! The food there just gets better and better…”