Turkington and BMW top first test of hybrid BTCC era

Four-time champion Colin Turkington topped the first pre-season British Touring Car Championship test of the hybrid era at Donington Park with his BMW.

Turkington and BMW top first test of hybrid BTCC era

The Northern Irishman led the way in both the morning and afternoon sessions at the wheel of his West Surrey Racing-run 330e M Sport on the squad’s first full day of track-testing with the Cosworth-developed hybrid system, following a shakedown the previous day at the MIRA proving ground.

Fog meant a delayed start to the test, so not much meaningful running was completed in the morning, but most of the 23 cars got decent mileage in the afternoon, with all but a few equipped with the hybrid.

Gordon Shedden moved his Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R to the forefront with just under an hour to go, before a run from Turkington that featured the two fastest laps of the test, the best of them 0.145 seconds ahead of the Scot.

Turkington’s best lap was 0.110s adrift of the qualifying record at Donington, set last October by Shedden.

New WSR recruit Jake Hill was sixth fastest, while the team’s other driver Stephen Jelley was 11th after focusing on longer runs.

“Monday [at MIRA] was the first time the cars turned a wheel,” WSR boss Dick Bennetts told Autosport.

“We had a few hiccups with minor mapping problems with the Cosworth system but that’s to be expected with the new project – some are resolved, some aren’t.

“But we’re getting through it one by one, and we did quite a few miles with all three cars.

“A lot of that was down to the preparation work at WSR, and I have to give credit especially to John Waterman [Turkington’s engineer, who has led the implementation of the hybrid] and our chief mechanic Steve Buckell.”

But Bennetts warned against reading too much into times.

“The problem is you don’t know who’s running what hybrid deployment, who’s running what weight, or if engines are turned up or turned down,” he added.

“The main issue was sorting out the teething troubles and dialling the car into a 1370kg base weight [up from 1300kg last season].”

“It was great just to get back in the car – the first experience of hybrid, which we were all highly anticipating,” said Turkington.

“You definitely feel a lift in terms of performance and power once you deploy – you can really feel it increase the acceleration immediately.

“For sure we’re going to go faster this year, which is a good thing, but still we have to focus on the handling, the chassis – that’s still number one.

“With the hybrid on top of that, we’ll have a good package.”

Tom Ingram put the lead Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N into third position, with BTCC returnee Dan Cammish fourth in his Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus – the Ford was not only quick, but completed an 18-lap race run in the afternoon.

Fastest of the non-hybrid cars was the Ciceley Motorsport BMW of Adam Morgan in fifth place, with his time set on a 16-lap run – the sister car of BTCC rookie George Gamble was hybrid-equipped, and he set the 10th quickest time.

Behind Hill, the BTC Racing Honda of Josh Cook was seventh, followed by the second Motorbase Ford of reigning champion Ash Sutton.

The other driver in the top 10 was Dynamics Honda pilot Dan Rowbottom, ninth quickest.

The most laps were completed by the hybrid-fitted Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Corolla of Ricky Collard on 86, one ahead of Turkington.

Apart from Collard, the other testing participant not confirmed for a 2022 seat is Jason Plato. The two-time champion completed 21 laps, with adjustments to his seating position costing some time on his first outing in a BTC Honda.

New Excelr8 Hyundai recruit Tom Chilton missed the test due to testing positive for COVID-19.

shares
comments
Cook stays at BTC Racing for BTCC 2022 season, Plato tests team's Honda
Previous article

Cook stays at BTC Racing for BTCC 2022 season, Plato tests team's Honda

Next article

Plato signs with BTC Racing for 2022, announces BTCC retirement

Plato signs with BTC Racing for 2022, announces BTCC retirement
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021