I’m delighted that in 2017 we’ll be sticking with the BMW 125i M Sport for the fifth season. We’ve enjoyed a lot of success with it, including our second Drivers’ title in 2014 with Colin Turkington. We’ve been working hard to improve lots of little areas so that we can go one better in 2017 and nail that third title.
One of the big changes for 2017 is that we’ll have 2013 champion and multiple race winner Andrew Jordan in one of the cars. Goodwood fans will know about this as he’s the official track tester down there and we did a fun, live Facebook launch with the Goodwood guys last week.
We’re really excited to have AJ on board; he’s a grafter and very quick, too. He’s already spent a lot of time at West Surrey working with the engineers to understand the car as he’s going rear-wheel-drive next year for the first time in the BTCC. We’re going to be doing a fair bit of testing to make sure he’s up to speed before the start of the season. Actually, he’ll be fine – he’s used to the Austin A30 that he races in historics. The BTCC car’s got a bit more horsepower but otherwise it’s the same!
We run an open-team policy at West Surrey, too, so we all share the data. All the drivers share feedback with each other for the good of the team. I got bitten once in Supertouring when one side of the garage went off and did their own thing after a briefing and got disqualified after getting it wrong. I clamped down on that immediately; we don’t have any secrets here. And that applies to the new tyre rules next year, especially. We’ll be running a new, bigger Dunlop tyre, which means we’ll need to simulate how it works in qualifying and race conditions during winter testing so we’re on the ball. We’ll be learning as we go, so everyone will need to work together. AJ is a team player already – he won the title in a family-run car, remember, so he understands how that works and will be great for the other guys.
We’re really looking forward to next season. There’ll be more announcements about who’ll be in the other cars pretty soon. What I do know is it’s going to be a strong line-up and we’ll be going all out to not finish second in the Drivers’ Championship again…
Photography courtesy of LAT.