Article date: 15 March 2006
Team RAC is today firing the first warning shots for the coveted2006 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with confirmation ofits driver line-up.
Team RAC, the name for this year's West Surrey Racing (WSR) team,sponsored by RAC, has signed touring car stars Colin Turkington andRob Collard.
The pair have been tasked with spearheading Team RAC's campaign tobecome the first winning team under the new sponsors, in what marksthe tenth consecutive racing year for West Surrey Racing in touringcars.
The drivers will each be behind the wheels of 2.0 litre MG ZS racecars, powerful high performance cars that can reach top speeds ofaround 150mph 0-60 in an impressive 4.5 seconds.
Turkington (23), an Irishman who has previously raced with WSR andspent last season with VX Racing, said: "I am absolutely delightedto be joining Team RAC and all the guys again at West SurreyRacing. My first step into touring car racing was with them back in2002 and over the next three years I was able to achieve somefantastic results. I feel very much at home with the team and willbe doing my maximum to ensure Team RAC is at the front of the grid.I know the team have been working day and night to extract morespeed from the car and I can't wait to get in it again."
Collard (37), who has competed in BTCC since 2000 and recorded hisfirst victories for WSR at Knockhill and Brands Hatch last season,added: "I feel very privileged to be racing with Team RAC thisyear. The MG was already a proven car, but with the developmentthat it has received over the winter I'm sure this will result inme becoming a more frequent visitor to the podium. I can't wait tostart testing in preparation for the first round at BrandsHatch."
Dick Bennetts, team principal, WSR, said; "I believe Team RAC havean incredibly strong driver line-up for this year's championship.Colin is familiar with the set-up of the car and will assistimmensely in terms of its development throughout the season. InRob, we have an extremely experienced BTCC campaigner whose inputduring 2005 was invaluable. At Team RAC we have been busydeveloping the cars over the winter period and as I have saidpreviously, there is more to come from the car. Our engine partner,EDL, has undertaken an intensive development programme over thelast couple of months. With the prospect of additional horsepowerwe're expecting a most competitive season. We haven't ruled out thepossibility of a third car taking to the grid, but at this stageall I can say is watch this space!"
Commenting on the driver announcement, Simon Machell, managingdirector, RAC, said: "We are delighted to have signed the servicesof Colin Turkington and Rob Collard. They are a formidable team andwill be instrumental in our title quest for this year's BTCC. Theright drivers and car, combined with our expertise and that of theWest Surrey Racing Team means we will be putting our stamp firmlyon the Championship this year. This season promises to be one toremember for motor sports fans."
Colin Turkington and Rob Collard will be available to meet themedia at Brands Hatch on 28 March at the BTCC Media Day. This willalso give the media the first chance to see the new Team RAC carwhich has undergone a complete facelift and extensive changes. Ifyou are an accredited member of the media and would like to attendthe event or you would like to arrange an interview with members ofTeam RAC please contact the press office via the contact detailsbelow.
For further information please contact:
Lexis Sport (Team RAC Press Office)
0207 908 6434 / 07738 336486
Notes to editors:
Colin Turkington Profile:
Born: 21 March 1982
Lives: Donaghcloney, Ireland
2005 BTCC. Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch, VX Racing
2004 BTCC. MG ZS, West Surrey Racing
Final Position: 6th. 2nd in Independents championship behindteammate Anthony Reid
2003 BTCC Touring class. MG ZS, MG Sport & Racing
Final Position: 8th
2002 BTCC Touring class. MG ZS, Team Atomic Kitten
Final position: 14th
2001 Champion, Ford Fiesta Zetec Championship.
Lap records at Silverstone, Snetterton and Knockhill
Nominated for Best British Club Driver of the year
2000 Ford Credit Fiesta Zetec s Championship (11th, competed in 7rounds).
Junior cup - drivers under 21 (5th)
Lap record at Donington Park
Elf Clio Renault sport UK Cup winter series (4th)
1999 Ford Credit Fiesta Zetec s Championship (11th)
Junior cup - drivers under 21 (4th)
Lap record at Brands Hatch
Reached final stage of Vauxhall Vectra SRi Scholarship
1998 Northern Ireland Metro Association Championship (1st)
1997 Down Autograss Championship (2nd)
Foyle Autograss Championship (2nd)
Foyle Autograss Championship (3rd)
1996 Down Autograss Championship (2nd)
Foyle Autograss Championship (2nd)
League Championship (2nd)
1995 Ulster Karting Club Championship - Junior IntercontinentalA
1994 Ulster Karting Club Championship - cadets (2nd)
1993 Ulster Karting Club Championship - cadets
Northern Ireland Karting Club Winter Series Championship - cadets(3rd)
Rob Collard Profile:
Born: 1 October1968
Lives: Everseley, Hampshire
2005 BTCC. West Surrey Racing MG ZS
Final Position: 3rd, Independents Cup and 7th overall
2004 BTCC. Collard Racing Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Final Position: 6th, Independents Cup and 12th overall
2003 BTCC Touring class. Collard Racing Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Final Position: 1st Hilton Independents Cup and 10th overall in theTouring Class
2002 BTCC Production class. Collard Racing Renault Clio
Final Position: 12th. Race wins: 1
2001 BTCC Production class. Collard Racing Renault Clio
Final Position: 13th
2000 BTCC Class B, 1 win, 2 fastest laps, 4th overall
1999 Vauxhall SRi V6 Challenge, 3rd overall. 4 wins, 6 polepositions, 5 fastest laps, 1 lap record. Tested works VauxhallSuper Touring Car
1998 Formula Ford - 1 win, 3 fastest laps, 6th overall (win atFormula Ford Festival). Eurocar Pickup - 2 races, 2 seconds, 1 laprecord. Vauxhall Vectra SRi V6 Challenge winter series, 2 wins, 3pole positions
1997 Formula Ford 1st Division - 5 wins, 6 pole positions, 2 laprecords, 4th overall
1996 Formula Ford 1st Division - 1 win, 2 fastest laps, 1 laprecord, 4th overall
1987-95 1600cc Hot Rods - European, National, English and BritishChampion
1978-83 Ministoxs - Southern Area Champion
Key 2006 BTCC dates
March 28 Brands Hatch -media day
April 8/9 Brands Hatch, Kent
April 22/23 Mondello Park, Co Kildare
May 13/14 Oulton Park, Cheshire
June 3/4 Thruxton, Hampshire
July 15/16 Croft, North Yorkshire
July 29/30 Donington Park, Leicestershire
August 12/13 Snetterton, Norfolk
September 2/3 Knockhill, Fife
September 23/24 Brands Hatch, Kent
October 14/15 Silverstone, Northamptonshire
The championship is firmlyestablished not only as one of Britain's most popular form of motorracing but also as one of the UK's top sporting attractions. Overthe past decade, action-packed BTCC race meetings have repeatedlydrawn crowds on a par with Premiership football matches and TestMatch cricket, with over 200,000 loyal spectators and over 20million terrestrial television viewers.
With more than seven millionmembers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoringorganisations and a provider for both private and businessmotorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair andreplacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections, legal andfinancial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travelinformation - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs.
Aviva announced its acquisition of RAC in 2005. The acquisitionbrings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with theexpertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich UnionInsurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largestinsurer, insuring one-in-seven motor vehicles and with a marketshare of around 14%.