New BMW 3 Series Tipped To Star As BTCC Moves To Donington Park


Reigning champion Turkington: We have nothing to fear

New boy Oliphant: I’m confident and ready to give it my best shot

Home hero Jordan: New BMW 3 Series really feels like my car

BMW’s trio of British Touring Car Championship contenders are ready for seconds-out, round two at Donington (27/28 April), with high hopes for the new race-tuned 3 Series saloon around the popular Leicestershire circuit.

The 330i M Sport made a stellar debut in the UK’s premier motor racing series at Brands Hatch just under a fortnight ago, with drivers Colin Turkington, Andrew Jordan and Tom Oliphant locking out third, fourth and fifth places on the 30-strong grid and 2013 champion Jordan going on to win race two in dominant fashion after starting all the way down in 15th.

Add to that defending title-holder Turkington’s fastest lap in race three, and it was a scene-stealing first appearance for the latest-generation of BMW’s best-selling model worldwide – and even more is expected at Donington Park, the historic circuit that famously played host to the 1993 Formula 1 European Grand Prix.

Between them, Team BMW’s Turkington and BMW Pirtek Racing ace Jordan have tallied six BTCC victories at Donington, while new Team BMW recruit Oliphant registered his first series points at the Midlands track this time last year with a top ten finish in only his fourth touring car start. He is also a previous winner there in both British GT and the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup.

They return occupying 8th (Jordan), 13th (Turkington) and 14th (Oliphant) positions in the Drivers’ standings respectively following Brands Hatch’s three weather-affected races, with BMW jointly leading the Manufacturers’ standings.

Colin Turkington, Driver, Team BMW, said: “I feel we took a good step forward at the Thruxton test this week, with the focus of making the BMW 3 Series a bit more user-friendly and more suited to my driving style. We’re definitely moving in the right direction and I go to Donington Park with more confidence and a stronger base set-up than I had at Brands Hatch. I didn’t feel at one with the new car over that weekend which made it difficult to attack, but in qualifying and race three, the pace was clear to see. Andrew proved what the 3 Series is capable of by winning race two and despite Donington not being one of our strongest tracks in recent times, I think the circuit will play to the strengths of the 3 Series’ excellent aerodynamics.”

Tom Oliphant, Driver, Team BMW, said: “Donington is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar, and I’m confident that we can go there and fight at the front of the field. We were very quick at Brands Hatch – a circuit that hasn’t always been the strongest for BMW – but we still have work to do and with the conditions there making the whole weekend a bit of a lottery, we haven’t seen the true pecking order yet this season. Different tracks have different characteristics and favour different cars, and each new one we go to we’re learning with the 3 Series. We ran through a lot of changes at this week’s Thruxton test and I’m increasingly getting the car closer to where I want it to be. There are plenty of high and medium-speed corners at Donington, which suits my driving style quite well and prioritises a good balance, so I’m feeling positive and am ready to give it my best shot.”

Andrew Jordan, Driver, BMW Pirtek Racing, said: “I think we’re looking in strong shape. We don’t carry much weight going to Donington and I think we should be particularly quick in race trim. I’m feeling positive and am really looking forward to it. It’s my home circuit and I do feel the support from family and friends in the crowd, but I can’t say that makes me push any harder – I already give it my all everywhere we go. My target is wins and podium finishes, and I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t be achievable. We obviously need to be sensible and couple that with a strong points haul, but Donington’s fast, flowing layout should suit the longer-wheelbase cars like ours. I’ve definitely got a spring in my step this year. I felt confident in the 3 Series from the get-go – it really feels like my car – and in a championship as close and competitive as the BTCC, you can never underestimate the importance of that. I felt really comfortable in the car in race two at Brands – and that was reflected in the result.”