5th – Andy Priaulx
Average poll score out of ten: 6.675
Team IHG Rewards Club – West Surrey Racing
BMW 125i M Sport
Andy Priaulx created quite a sensation when the long-time BMW factory driver announced his return to the British Touring Car Championship after agreeing a deal with West Surrey Racing for the 2015 season.
Since his last previous appearance in the BTCC back in 2002, Priaulx has arguably become one of the most prolific in Touring Car history and spearheaded much of BMW's success after clinching three World Touring Car titles on the bounce.
However, the series he left in 2002 had also moved on and the current set of NGTC regulations has played havoc with even the best. That didn't seem to phase Priaulx, though, as the WSR driver sent shockwaves through the paddock by claiming a remarkable pole position at the Brands Hatch season opener.
Indeed, the BTCC did bite back and an intermittent run of form confined Priaulx to just two podiums from the first four meetings of the season. That changed as the season headed towards BMW territory and 41-year old finally broke his victory duck at Croft.
Priaulx's first BTCC victory since Knockhill 2002 sparked the revival his season needed. The WSR driver finished the next eight consecutive races firmly in the top five, which included a further four podiums – moving him to within striking distance of the championship summit.
But just as Priaulx moved himself into contention, the dovetailing of his BMW European Le Mans Series commitments forced his absence from the Rockingham round, signalling an end to his title challenge.
Priaulx picked up a further win at Silverstone on his way to an eighth place championship finish.
Andy Priaulx in Crash.Net BTCC Driver of the Year poll
First time entry
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About the vote:
Rather than repeat the Drivers' British Championship standings, the BTCC Driver of the Year poll asks viewers to take into account factors such as machinery, performance relative to a team-mate, riding style, experience, injuries, progress and personality just as much as race results and scoring each of the top twenty from this year's BTCC standings with a mark out of ten.