West Surrey Racing has announced that Rob Collard will remain with the team for the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Collard, who played a key role in WSR’s Constructors’ and Teams’ Championship titles last year with two race wins and six podiums, joins Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington in the three-car line-up of BMW 125i M Sports.
The Hampshireman enjoyed his most competitive BTCC campaign to date in 2016 as he led the points table during the second half of the season and finished fifth overall; narrowly missing out on the title at the Brands Hatch season finale.
His total of four fastest laps was a figure unbeaten by any other driver in the series, and with over 140 places made up from his starting positions across the season, he was awarded the Dunlop #ForeverForward Trophy at the end-of-year BTCC Night of Champions.
The 2017 campaign will be his 10th with WSR; Collard taking his maiden BTCC victory and podium during a two-year stint with the Sunbury-on-Thames team in 2005-06 and then returning in 2010.
He will drive the latest version of the WSR-designed-and-built BMW 125i M Sport for the first time during a week-long test in Spain, starting on February 27.
“It’s fantastic to be staying with WSR,” said Collard. “They have a pedigree like no other team in the BTCC and the level of professionalism and preparation that has been key to their success is clear to see in everything they do.
“This will be my 10th season with the team and I plan to use that continuity to my advantage. I took my first BTCC win and my first podium with WSR and now my aim is to take my first title with them too. With Colin and Andrew as my team-mates, I think we have the strongest line-up in the championship and I can’t wait to start testing the latest development of the BMW later this month.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, said: “We’re very pleased to continue our partnership with Rob, who has raced with WSR for the past seven seasons – including the entire BMW 125i M Sport programme.
“He’s very much part of the family here, is one of the best drivers in the BTCC for pure racing ability and played a pivotal role in WSR’s constructors’ and teams’ title successes in 2016. I don’t see any reason why he can’t be a title contender again.”