Four-time BTCC champ Colin Turkington says the goal is to win in 2023

19th April 2023
Andrew Willis

The Jim Clark Trophy at the 80th Goodwood Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport was a stunning showcase of the Lotus Cortina, as 30 of those stunning saloons battled hard around the Motor Circuit. Named after one of the UK’s greatest drivers, the field of VIP entrants also united to commemorate a two-time F1 World Champion with a near faultless record racing Cortinas in the British Saloon Car Championship of the 1960s. Fast forward six decades and the achievements of Clark continue to resonate in the modern world of motorsport, particularly with those racing the latest fast saloons in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) chasing their own glory.


The most successful of this modern crop, in fact the joint most successful BTCC racing driver in history, is Colin Turkington. A man with four BTCC Championships to his name after securing overall victories in ‘09, ‘14, ‘18 and ‘19. Heading into his 19th season in the championship, the long-standing BMW driver already has a total of 63 career victories notched up. A total that he’s committed to increasing heading into a new era of hybrid power racing.

We had the chance to spend five minutes with the softly-spoken family-man before his 80th Members’ Meeting practice session got underway, to find out a bit more about his expectations for the upcoming season, and the brilliant racing he was about to experience in the Jim Clark Trophy.


Morning Colin! How does it feel to be back at Goodwood?

It’s great to be here, but I've only raced here twice. So I haven't participated a lot at Goodwood. Always because of clashing commitments. I still feel like a newbie here, so it's definitely in at the deep end for me this weekend. But here the priority is to enjoy ourselves and get to the end of the race with a smile on our face. That's the goal.

Have you had much time to get comfy in the Ford-Lotus Cortina Mk1?

Absolutely none! I raced the Cortina once before at Speedweek (presented by Mastercard). We had a test planned for last week, but then a last-minute touring car test at Brands Hatch happened. So that was my one opportunity to try the car and refresh myself on the circuit.

We’re so close to the start of the BTCC now. Does your pace this weekend play on your mind heading into the season?

I think anytime you're in a race car with your bum in the seat, it's good practice. I won't be driving my BMW as sideways as I will be in the Cortina that’s for sure. But it's all good race simulation and I'm sure we'll be in the thick of plenty of battles. So it's good mental preparation for next week at Donnington. The Members’ Meeting isn’t supposed to be so serious. So it's nice to be able to enjoy the motorsport with a bit less pressure.


How are you feeling heading into 2023? I assume the goal is to win, like always? 

The goal is the same as it is this weekend. To do my very best and give a good account of myself. It's an extremely competitive series, so I always try to be consistent. Aim for the podium and keep scoring points. We've 30 races over the course of the season. It's impossible to win them all, so it's about consistency and always knocking on the door. There's always apprehension as to how competitive we’re going to be. Where I'm going to fit into the pack. But I'm excited about getting underway.

Do you feel like you have a target on your back heading in with your record?

No, not so much. There's always pressure to perform and expectation to do a good job. But there's no more pressure on me than anybody else. Every driver out there puts pressure on themselves. What I've achieved in the past is in history books and you start from scratch again. Obviously the goal is to win, to shoot for the stars. It's an extremely difficult Championship to win and you need a lot of things to fall into place. I'll be giving it my best go.

There’s a number of quick guys here from BTCC, like Jake Hill and Tom Ingram. Will you be keeping a closer eye on them than others?

Normally it's a completely different feeling at an event like Goodwood. Everyone is all smiles and happy go lucky. But when we get to the serious business of BTCC, everyone is laser-focused and the blinkers are on. So it's great to race these guys in a more relaxed environment before the real competition begins.


Can you explain the greatest difference between driving these Cortina Mk1s and your WSR BMW BTCC car?

The biggest difference is the tyre. With modern touring cars we run a slick tyre. Whereas the classics run the cross-ply tyre. So that means there’s a lot more sliding, drifting and car control. It’s a really fantastic way to drive. But when the helmet goes on and you're in the driving seat, you're still trying to extract 100% from the car and yourself. The mental processes are exactly the same. Always trying to achieve the fastest lap time you possibly can. So it's a great drill before my bread and butter next weekend. I'm really looking forward to it, and also watching more of the other action this weekend.

You’re commemorating a fellow saloon car great in Jim Clark. How confident would you be coming up against him this weekend?

I've already lost! He was obviously a Cortina specialist, which I can't claim to be, but I would be more than happy to come a close second to Jim.

How important is it to honour people like Jim Clark here at Goodwood? Do you have much time to think about them throughout the weekend?

Those are the icons and legends of our sport. Particularly for me, Jim Clark’s record in touring cars is incredible. So when you're filling out your entry form, and you see you're in the Jim Clark Trophy, it's a special thing. It's special just to be invited to race at Goodwood, and to be able to honour these people. It's fantastic that their name and their memory lives on and that we're able to celebrate them and that heritage, particularly here in the UK.

Thanks for your time Colin, and Good luck for the weekend!

No problem, thank you. I might need it…

And with that disarmingly humble sign off, the quiet Northern Irishman walks off towards the assembly area to catch a glimpse of the latest batch of cars to head out on track. Baseball cap on, he melts into the crowd. Seeking to enjoy his passion for motorsport before the pressure ramps up at Rounds 1, 2 and 3 at Donington Park next weekend.

What really strikes us the most about our brief chat is how Colin’s polite, unassuming, modest mannerisms, paired with exceptional talent and race craft, echo the spirit of the man he is here to remember. If ever there was a modern version of Jim Clark racing saloons, Mr Colin Turkington is surely as close as you can get…

Goodwood photography Joe Harding and Jochen van Cawenberge. Other images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • 80MM

  • Members Meeting

  • BTCC

  • BTCC 2023

  • Colin Turkinton

  • Touring cars

  • Lotus

  • Cortina

  • Jim Clark Trophy

  • jim-clark-trophy-80mm-lotus-cortina-main.jpg

    Members' Meeting

    30 Lotus Cortinas to battle for Jim Clark Trophy at 80MM

  • tom-ingram-80mm-btcc-interview-main.jpg


    Tom Ingram predicts a six-driver battle for the 2023 BTCC title

  • 80mm-jim-clark-tophy-jochen-van-cawenberge-main.jpg

    Members' Meeting

    Thirty Lotus Cortinas battle hard in the Jim Clark Trophy