TEAM BMW AIMING HIGH AT BRANDS HATCH
Team BMW advances to its home circuit of Brands Hatch this weekend (23/24 October), as the closing rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship present the WSR-run squad with a number of opportunities for glory in the series’ various title fights.
Brands Hatch’s Grand Prix circuit poses one of the season’s sternest tests for drivers, as limited testing and race days on the undulating 2.6-mile layout mean that competitors have to use all of their existing knowledge to quickly rise to the front of the field.
With leading light Colin Turkington sitting second in the overall Drivers’ Standings, the Northern Irishman will be putting his best foot forward during Sunday’s race day, as well as during qualifying, as he attempts to retain his Goodyear Wingfoot Award accolade for a second year running.
Team-mates Stephen Jelley and Tom Oliphant will also be hoping for a strong showing on the Grand Prix configuration, where Jelley achieved a podium finish during the 2020 campaign.
The circuit holds a fondness for Oliphant after the 31-year-old secured a maiden BTCC victory when the series last ventured onto the layout last year. His second career win also came in Kent, although on the Indy circuit, earlier in the 2021 campaign and the Tarporley racer will no doubt be aiming to add to his happy memories there following a difficult weekend at Donington Park.
With BMW currently leading the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ table, the trio will be looking to secure the Bavarian marque a sixth consecutive crown in the class with some solid results this weekend.
The Team BMW trio will head out for two 40-minute free practice sessions on Saturday at 0940 and 1200, before qualifying gets underway at 1500, which will be shown on ITV’s BTCC website. The first of three 15-lap races on Sunday is set for 1130, followed by contests at 1430 and 1715, all of which will be broadcast live on ITV4.
“I think Brands Hatch is going to suit the 3 Series,” said Jelley. “The car has been quick there in the past as well, so I am looking forward to it. It’s a circuit that I really like, I had a podium there last year and I’ve got better equipment now, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
“Colin can still win the championship, so there’s that at play as well and of course I will do anything I can do to help him, and the team have a successful outcome. Hopefully the weather conditions will be consistent either way, as it’s a bit less stressful, but I want to focus on my performance as much as possible and go out on high.”
“I gave it everything I had [at Donington Park] but we just weren’t where we should be,” admitted Oliphant. “We’re looking into everything, and hopefully will be back to where we should be at Brands Hatch.
“Heading into the finale, I just want to end the year on a high with three solid results and help BMW/WSR wrap up the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ title.”
“I started the season with the intention of getting to the finale with a chance of winning, and I’m proud to say that here we are,” said Turkington.
“The final race weekend is like nothing else, and anything is possible. We’ve seen year after year that the championship leader has the hardest time over this weekend, and it’s usually been me on the receiving end of this. This time, I am the hunter and have the fire in my belly to give it everything I’ve got – I’ve nothing to lose.”