Turkington: ‘We’ve got a lot to look forward to’
Colin Turkington is in buoyant mood ahead of the 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship as the Northern Irishman chases an historic fifth title.
Turkington has been a main title challenger in each of the campaign’s he has competed in since making a return to the championship back in 2013, but the 41-year-old admits his and the team’s challenge fell slightly short last year.
“I think it was an okay season for me, not one of my best, but we may be just didn’t quite have the pace in the car that we’ve had in previous seasons,” he said.
“To be fair, I had a really good run up until the halfway mark. I think I was lying third, we were consistent and didn’t feel like I dropped many points, but probably two weekends really did the damage, and both of those weekends were weather affected. Sitting on the grid on slick tyres when it started to rain – those are 50-50 gambles and unfortunately, we probably got them wrong both times.
“I was still an outside contender come Brands Hatch, but hopefully going into 2024 I’ll be in stronger position, have more pace in the package and be in a better place to really challenge.”
Turkington has finished inside the top four of the overall Drivers’ standings in each of the last ten seasons and has clinched four titles during his incredible BTCC career so far – underlining his undoubted status as a true legend of the sport – but he remains hungrier than ever to return to the very top step as soon as possible.
“I know the team have been working really really hard in the background to catch up,” he continued. “Nobody (in the team) wants to be finishing second, third or fourth, you want to be on the top step, so I’m confident that I’ll have a package this year that will give me the opportunity to really fight at the front again.
“Dick (Bennetts) has always had a team and a car that has challenged at the front, and I think it probably hurt him too that we weren’t quite able to do that last year, so I know he’s keen to get back on the top step too and so are BMW. There’s been a big push this winter to catch up, so I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
Not only is Turkington excited about a potential upturn in pace for 2024, but he’s also looking forward to some new rule introductions in the BTCC that will see an increase in hybrid deployment, a new qualifying system and the return of option tyres – see separate stories on hybrid and qualifying.
“I think it’s the biggest shake up in many years,” concluded Colin. “The one thing is that the BTCC never stands still, and it’s amazing to see that TOCA listens to the fans and their opinions. We’ve got the bigger steps of (hybrid) deployment, bigger steps of boost, so a bigger discrepancy between those the front and the back. I think the racing will be going back to that way we were previously used to.
“I think that the idea behind hybrid, use it to go forward, not just to defend or go backwards, it’s about trying to go forward and race to the front.
“I had a brief look into it last year at the mid-season test at Snetterton, there were a few of us that got to try out the theory, and for sure you can feel a big increase in deployment from what we’ve been using.
“There’s also the qualifying shakeup, I am sure we’re all still trying to get our heads around it. It could either go for you or go against you, but I think it’s going to be a lot more exciting on a Saturday for fans.”
The 2024 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship gets underway at Donington Park on 27/28 April, tickets for every event can be purchased here while every qualifying session and race will be broadcast live across the ITV network.