Rob Collard and Sam Tordoff have re-signed with the West Surrey Racing-run Team JCT600 with GardX squad for the 2016 Dunlop British Touring Car Championship.
The new season will mark Collard's seventh consecutive BTCC campaign with West Surrey Racing while team-mate Tordoff is back for a second year after joining in 2015 alongside Andy Priaulx.
The team's BMW 125i M Sports have undergone rigorous development over the winter with the team strengthening its links with the German manufacturer as Tordoff becomes an ambassador for BMW and GardX becomes an official product supplier. The cars have also been given a fresh silver and blue livery for 2016.
Dick Bennetts, WSR team principal, feels securing continuity will be key for 2016 which centered his thinking behind re-signing both Collard and Tordoff and is already relishing the new season.
“It is great to have both Sam and Rob continue in the Team JCT600 with GardX WSR BMWs this year,” Bennetts said. “Considering that Sam has only done three years in the BTCC and only one in the RWD BMW, I reckon he'll really shine this season. Rob really lifted his game in 2015, to the point where three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx acknowledged his pace on race day.
“The guys have been working really hard through the winter to move the 125i M Sports on to a new level, as we all know just how competitive the BTCC is.”
Collard feels if he can iron out some of the inconsistencies which dampened his 2015 he is confident he can produce a BTCC title challenge this season. The 47-year-old got off to a flying start last season with an opening race win at Brands Hatch but just two further victories and four additional rostrum results were to follow during the remainder of the year.
“I am delighted to be continuing with Team JCT600 with GardX and extending my long relationship with WSR,” Collard said. “I enjoyed a fast but sometimes inconsistent season in 2015, but there's little doubting that we have the ingredients to fight for championships again this season. The whole team works well together and I have a good relationship with Sam, so we're really looking forward to another successful season in the BTCC.”
Tordoff spent his maiden year with WSR getting to grips with the rear-wheel drive BMW which came to fruition at the halfway stage of the season with a run of three straight podiums including two wins between Oulton Park and Croft which helped him to sixth overall in the BTCC drivers' championship.
“I really enjoyed my first season with Team JCT600 with GardX and I can't wait to get going in 2016,” Tordoff said. “Everyone at WSR is so friendly, experienced and hugely talented, which is why I know this is the best place for my career. It was fantastic to score some wins last year but now we need to do so on a consistent basis in order to challenge for the championship. We're all focussed and driven to achieve our goals so bring it on.”
WSR gets 2016 underway with pre-season testing over the next month before the official test day during the BTCC season launch at Donington Park on 22nd March.