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Thompson in BMW for the rest of 2024 BTCC season

Highly rated British Touring Car Championship racer Bobby Thompson has secured the final West Surrey Racing BMW seat for the remainder of the 2024 season.

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

The 27-year-old, who won the Jack Sears Trophy in 2022 and was an overall podium finisher last year – both seasons in a Team Hard Cupra – drove WSR’s fourth BMW in the official pre-season test at Brands Hatch in April.

But Thompson has been perennially underfunded, and the commercial numbers could not stack up for the opening two rounds of the season at Donington Park and Brands.

Now the Essex charger has secured backing from solutions tech company Zeus Cloud to line up alongside WSR’s BMW UK entries of Colin Turkington and Adam Morgan, plus the Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport 330e M Sport of Jake Hill, under the banner of Zeus Cloud Racing with WSR. The company’s branding will also appear on the cars of Turkington and Morgan.

Thompson will make his 2024 season bow in next week’s third round at Snetterton, and will be on the grid for the remainder of the campaign.

“I still don’t believe it at the moment!” Thompson told Autosport.

“People are really going to enjoy it when they see the car, which is going to look very different.

“Snetterton is one of my favourite circuits – I’d love to have done more laps in the car before I turn up, but if there was one place that wasn’t Brands Hatch to make my debut in the BMW, I’d love it to be there.”

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

Thompson has never raced a rear-wheel-drive car in the BTCC, but has plenty of experience of such a drivetrain format from his coaching business.

“All the circuits, except Croft and Knockhill, I spend so much time at and do so much driving,” he said.

“It really comes down to the Saturday of each weekend, and dialling things in and taking them down the right path engineering-wise.”

Thompson will be engineered by John Waterman, who worked with Turkington from 2020-23 and has been the main force behind the 3-Series’ development in recent seasons.

“He’s the brains behind the car, so I’ve lucked into getting him,” he added. “John had good words to say about me at the test, and I enjoyed working with him.”

It is understood that Thompson will be subject to some form of hybrid and turbo boost restriction at Snetterton, which is applied to season latecomers at the discretion of BTCC organiser TOCA – probably in the region of fourth or fifth in the championship.

But the Norfolk circuit is where the series’ new sporting regulations on tyres will throw a massive curveball, with all three compounds of Goodyear mandated across the trio of races, and the top 10 in race one potentially all having to use the hard rubber in the sequel.

“At the moment all I’ve been thinking about is getting to Snetterton!” Thompson said.

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

Bobby Thompson, Team BMW

Photo by: Gary Hawkins

“We all know how the BTCC is and the regulations can catch people out, but that race three at Brands was really exciting.

“I’ve got a feeling that touring cars has changed completely – it’s really got a different feel to it, a different dynamic.

“I’m in a fortunate place, because I’ll have quite a few people around me who will be thinking of the championship, so I can take a risk with the tyre and hopefully get a result.”

WSR chief Dick Bennetts said: “We’re delighted to welcome Bobby and Zeus Cloud to WSR.

“It was always clear what a determined and tenacious racer Bobby was when he was a rival, but when he tested with us in April at Brands Hatch we saw just what his capabilities were on and off-track.

“A huge thank you to Zeus Cloud and Path Marketing for making this programme possible.”

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