Team RAC has announced that Colin Turkington and Rob Collard will be joining the team in its title challenge for this year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Team RAC, launched at the Autosport International show back in January, witnesses a welcome return by RAC to the motorsport arena and an increased involvement in the series from motorsport engineering company West Surrey Racing by entering two MG ZS'.
"I believe we have an incredibly strong driver line-up for this year's championship," said Team RAC boss, Dick Bennett. "Colin is familiar with the set-up of the car and will assist immensely in terms of its development throughout the season. In Rob, we have an extremely experienced BTCC campaigner whose input during 2005 was invaluable.
"At WSR we have been busy developing the cars over the winter period and as I have said previously, there is more to come from the car. Our engine partner, EDL, have undertaken an intensive development programme over the last couple of months. With the prospect of additional horsepower we're expecting a most competitive season. We haven't ruled out the possibility of a third car taking to the grid but at this stage all I can say is, watch this space!"
Turkington, who began his BTCC career in 2002 with WSR, is looking forward to being re-united with the MG ZS, after competing with VX Racing last season. Although the Irishman managed two wins last season, it was a largely frustrating year.
"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Team RAC and all the guys again at West Surrey Racing," he stated. "My first step into touring car racing was with them back in 2002 and over the next three years I was able to achieve some fantastic results. I feel very much at home with this team and I will be doing my maximum to ensure Team RAC is at the front of the grid. The last time I drove the car in 2004 it was a potential race winner at every meeting and I know the guys have been working day and night to extract even more speed from the car. I can't wait to get in it again."
Collard meanwhile has slightly more experience having competed in the BTCC since 2000. However, it wasn't until last year when driving the MG ZS for WSR that he secured his first ever BTCC race win at Knockhill, following this up with a win at the season closer at Brands Hatch. He feels that joining Team RAC provides him with his best opportunity of lifting the title trophy.
"I feel very privileged to be racing with Team RAC this year," he continued. "The MG was already a proven car, but with the development that it's received over the winter I'm sure this will result in me becoming a more frequent visitor to the podium. I can't wait to start testing in preparation for the first round at Brands Hatch."
"We are delighted to have signed the services of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard they are a formidable team and will be instrumental in our title quest in this year's BTCC," concluded RAC managing director, Simon Machell. "The right drivers and car combined with our expertise and that of WSR means we will be putting our stamp firmly on the Championship this year. This season promises to be one to remember for motorsport fans."