Colin Turkington became British Touring Car Champion for a record-equalling fourth time as Team BMW triumphed at an astonishing season finale at Brands Hatch.
Coming into the last of 30 races held this year at the iconic Kent venue, Colin needed to overturn an eight-point deficit to chief rival Dan Cammish, and was forced to start 25th on the grid in his BMW 330i M Sport after being spun to the back in Race Two.
But a staggering fightback brought him into the top 10 by half-distance, and with Cammish crashing with a lap-and-a-half to go, sixth place – added to fifth and 25th in the earlier races – proved enough to make him champion for the fourth time by just two points.
Completing the success story, BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan – whose 3 Series is also run by WSR – claimed the runner-up spot in the series to give the Sunbury-on-Thames team its first one-two championship finish in the BTCC.
Not only that, it enabled Dick Bennetts’ team to give BMW the Manufacturers’ title for a fourth consecutive season, and in the debut year of the new 3 Series, which won 11 races across the year and did not suffer a single mechanically-related retirement.
It is also the 12th overall BTCC crown won by WSR in the past 11 seasons.
Team-mate Tom Oliphant produced an incredible fightback in the final race of the day to climb from 30th and last on the grid to 10th place by the chequered flag; the Leamington Spa-based driver also setting the fastest lap in the opening race.
Tom had started at the back after being eliminated in a multi-car incident in Race Two in which he was an innocent bystander.
With 16th place in Race One, he finished 11th in the Championship with two podium finishes, and second in the Jack Sears Trophy standings.
Colin Turkington said: “I can’t believe it. After what happened in Race Two with being spun to the back and having to start the last race 25th, I knew I had nothing to lose, but when I crossed the line I was just in a state of shock. I’ve never won a championship in this way. Of course I feel for the other guys, but I’m also incredibly proud of this team and the work that’s been put in across the season with a brand-new BMW. I never would have dreamed that one day I’d equal the record of four championships, but here I am. That was the race of my life and I’m absolutely thrilled with this result.”
Tom Oliphant said: “I’m incredibly pleased to be a part of this team. We’ve won the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships today, which is a great feeling, and I really enjoyed that last race. We played with the set-up of the BMW and got it really nailed for that final race on the dry track so to come from 30th to 10th was a great feeling. I’ve worked really hard on my pace in the second half of the year and I’m happy where we’ve got to now, and that was proved as we got the fastest lap in Race One. Today’s a great day for WSR and BMW and it’s great to be a part of this success.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “I can’t believe it. After Race Two, when Colin had been spun to the back, I thought the championship was gone, but one thing you can always be sure of with Colin is he never gives up, and he showed that today. He’s now equalled the all-time record of four championships and he’s won them all in WSR BMWs, so I’m incredibly proud of him and of the job done by the whole team. The new BMW 3 Series first turned a wheel the day before the season launch, and we’ve managed to win 11 races and not retired from a single race due to a technical problem. Tom’s drive in the final race was very strong and he’s done a good job for a first season in a rear-wheel-drive touring car. I think this achievement is going to take a little while to sink in.”
Main: Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch, UK; Below main text (top down): 1 Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch, UK; 2 Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch, UK; 3 West Surrey Racing celebrate title, BTCC, Brands Hatch, UK; 4 Colin Turkington, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch, UK; 5 Tom Oliphant, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch UK; 6 Tom Oliphant, Team BMW BMW 330i M Sport, BTCC, Brands Hatch UK.
Credit Jakob Ebrey/BMW.