Andrew Jordan took a brilliant first victory for the brand-new BMW 330i M Sport at Brands Hatch at the opening British Touring Car Championship weekend of 2019.
The BMW Pirtek Racing driver charged through from 15th on the grid in Race Two to deliver a masterful performance in a car that ran beautifully once the 1.2-mile Indy circuit dried out from early rain.
Treacherous track conditions had blighted the first race and the WSR-run team opted to start on Dunlop wet tyres, but once the race got underway, those further down the grid who had gambled on slicks proved quicker.
Despite running second in the early stages, from third on the grid, the 2013 champion faded to 15th by the flag.
Determined to fight back in Race Two, and equipped with the superior-on-the-day control tyre, Andrew rocketed off the line and by the end of lap one had passed seven cars.
He then dispatched rival after rival in a scintillating display that culminated in him moving into the lead on the outside of the pit straight with eight laps to run. Fastest lap and a dominant win were just reward for a superb drive.
With 54kg of success ballast and the option tyres underneath him, Andrew was never likely to repeat that performance from 11th on Race Three’s partially-reversed grid, but still he fought gamely in the top 10 before contact forced him to pit.
Andrew Jordan said: “This has been an amazing weekend for us and the new BMW 330i M Sport. To get the first win for the new 3 Series on its debut weekend means everything to me. An hour into the first day we tested it, I was ready to race it. The car felt very good all weekend. I was a little bit cautious in the damp because we used to struggle with that with old car, but it felt very good. In Race Two, I was conscious of protecting the control tyres, especially since all the people around me were on softer tyres. But the option tyre turned out to be less competitive and after that it was a case of picking them off one by one. When it came to Ash Sutton in the lead, I knew he would be a tough cookie so I had to try and be patient. But his tyres were deteriorating, and my car felt very strong. So I tried to be on him coming off Clearways and with his tyres getting worse my advantage was greater. Last year felt winless for me [in spite of an inherited victory at Knockhill], so to get this victory in such commanding style is great. I did the easy bit though, the team have done an astonishing job with this car.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “That is mission accomplished for us. AJ has looked strong all weekend and in Race Two, when he was on the control tyre, the car was just mega. We’ve won quite a bit at Brands Hatch with the old car, but I think while we are still tapping into the new BMW’s potential, we couldn’t have hoped to do so well so quickly. We are still learning what it likes, what it doesn’t like and have to do a stock take after this weekend. But now I am very encouraged. We knew we were good yesterday, and we just made a wrong tyre call in Race One, but the rest of the weekend has shown us we that have a strong year ahead of us.”
Team BMW’s new 330i M Sport shines on BTCC debut
Team BMW came away from the opening weekend of their triple British Touring Car Championship title defence hugely encouraged by the performance of the new BMW 330i M Sport at Brands Hatch.
Not only did the WSR-run car win in the hands of BMW Pirtek Racing driver Andrew Jordan, stable-mate and reigning champion Colin Turkington was able to deliver his own blistering performance, setting fastest lap and recording a top-five finish in the final race of the day.
Turkington and his impressive new team-mate Tom Oliphant were not able to capitalise on strong qualifying performances for Race One, when difficult conditions left them no choice but to opt to start on wet tyres.
This compromised their race pace as drivers lower down the grid who had gambled on slicks gained an advantage on the drying track.
Starting in the midfield in Race Two, Colin and Tom worked their way back up to 14th and 15th on the less competitive Dunlop option tyre, setting the stage for a grandstand finish, which they duly delivered.
In an eventful final race of the day Colin, now on the control tyre and without ballast, charged through, passing nine cars on his way to fifth and fastest lap. While Tom impressively tracked him throughout to record his career-best BTCC finish in sixth.
Colin Turkington said: “Fastest lap and fifth place in the final race of the day was pleasing and it was good to pick up some really useful points. We’re still learning about the brand new 3 Series and I think it is just going to take a bit more time to tailor it to my style. That will come with time and once we unlock that potential, we will fly. I know that we have to dig quite deep in terms of analysis but there are another 27 races to go and we just have to find the right set-up, and no doubt this team will. It’s a strong start and a fantastic effort by the whole team.”
Tom Oliphant said: “We knew we had a quick car, and when we finally got to race in one constant track condition in Race Three, we were able to show that. I got a good start, went around a few cars and I was right behind Colin and I just said to myself ‘I am just going to follow him’. I knew he would make the moves. We had the same car, same tyres and same set-up so every move he went for, I just pushed through. I’m really, really pleased. The car felt great, exactly the way it had in testing and it’s brilliant that we managed to end the day on a high and score some big points for Team BMW. Between us and AJ we showed what the car can do. The guys have done an extraordinary job with this car and I can’t wait to race it again.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We can be very satisfied with this weekend. Colin finished fifth in Race Three and looked very strong, and had we started higher up, we probably would have been in the running for a podium. We will have to work a little bit with Colin to get the car to suit his driving style, but it will come. I’m also very impressed with Tom, who recorded his best result in the BTCC this weekend. At no point did he look any different to the other two, who are both champions, and was right on Colin’s tail in Race Three. Overall this has been a very good weekend and considering how many hours everyone has put in to get these three BMW 330i M Sports ready for this weekend, the results are a tremendous testament to the team’s hard work. All three cars finished all three races, which is excellent reliability. To have a win [through BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan] with the brand-new car, complete with two fastest laps, shows we have a lot to look forward to.”
Working together since 2017
Physical Digital were delighted to attend the first weekend of this years British Touring Car Championship as sponsors of WSR. Physical Digital proudly provide 3D scanning and reverse engineering services to WSR as their approved Technical Partners. Working together since 2017, Dick Bennetts (WSR Team Principal) recently commented:
“ Physical Digital have been a great asset to WSR in the early stages of the design of our new BMW 3 Series BTCC race cars. Without their assistance with the 3D scanning of various parts, it would have taken our design guys a lot longer to achieve.
Tim and all the guys have always been on hand ready to assist when needed. Greatly appreciated”
Photo credit JEP/BMW.