Colin Turkington’s dominate performance at Knockhill’s opening race bought West Surrey Racing their 100th win as a team in the BTCC.
As 14-time champions, WSR are no stranger to success in the British Touring Car Championship.
Having just surpassed a century of BTCC race victories, Last Lap takes a trip through memory lane to gather the build-up to such an impressive achievement.
West Surrey Racing’s humble BTCC beginnings
West Surrey Racing is one of the most successful and infamous BTCC teams to ever compete in the sport.
However, WSR was not always the leading team that modern day BTCC fans know and love.
The team had entered the championship at the start of the 1996 season in which they had been chosen to run the works Ford Mondeo, an underperforming car leading up to this point in the iconic Super Touring era.
The driver pairing of Paul Radisich and Steve Robertson only managed to finish above the factory Peugeot outfits of Tim Harvey and Patrick Watts in their first year finishing 10th overall.
West Surrey Racing’s first win in the BTCC didn’t come until the start of the 1998 season.
Ex-Renault driver Will Hoy proved the Mondeo still had some worth left uin it by earning the team’s first victory at Silverstone.
The 21st Century and the BMW relationship
After some solid seasons with some wins and multiple podiums sprinkled throughout with both Honda and MG respectively in the early 2000’s, West Surrey Racing signed a contract with BMW at the start of the 2007 season allowing them to use BMW E90 320si’s.
A future title-winning works marque for Dick Bennetts’ BTCC outfit.
Current WSR driver Colin Turkington had already been driving for the team for a number of years when the BMW deal was signed.
Turkington would eventually win his first, as well as the team’s first, BTCC title in 2009 after a hard season long fight with Jason Plato and Fabrizio Giovanardi.
The team contained on with BMW and is still with the German manufacturer to this day.
Turkington is still their number-one driver despite having brief spells at Vauxhall and BMR, since all four of his championships have been with the WSR outfit.
Team Principal Dick Bennetts reacted to the century of wins: “It was fantastic for Colin to win (Race 1), but also to get WSR’s hundredth win, and BMW and WSR’s 75th win together.
“Our first win was with Will Hoy back in 1998 so this is a great achievement for everyone in the team.”
The future of West Surrey Racing
Colin Turkington is still as fast as he was when he debuted back in 2005, having won the 2019 Driver’s Championship and just missing out on the 2020 crown to Ash Sutton.
He doesn’t look like he has any intentions of leaving West Surrey Racing or the BTCC, and why would there be reason to do so?
With 100 wins to their name, and undoubtedly more to come, could West Surrey Racing become the most successful team in BTCC history?
And can Colin Turkington take back his crown from Ash Sutton in this years title fight?
A long-awaited era of hybrid touring cars will commence from 2022. The fight for the title should be close and competitive as it usually has been.
Their last titles were the Team’s and Manufacturer’s last year.
Having a three-car presence helps in the team’s point-scoring efforts in the current climate sees Ingram and Sutton at it for the title, and Turkington is in third place in the standings.
This year marks 40 years of motorsport for West Surrey Racing, and we are certain to expect more BTCC successes in years to come.