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eBay Motors aims to put in an early bid for the BTCC title

Wednesday, March 28 2012

Seasoned British Touring Car campaigners West Surrey Racing have joined the turbo brigade for 2012 and are expecting a great season, starting this weekend at Brands Hatch (31 March - 1 April). Along with Redstone Racing, the eBay Motors team has stepped up its attack to three cars, whilst sticking with a proven package and wins are back on the agenda.

Dick Bennett's legendary outfit switched to the previous generation BMW 3 Series as long ago as 2007, claiming the title with Colin Turkington two years later. However, discount the turbo-powered cars from the 2011 table and Rob Collard was only second to Jason Plato, and the team has high hopes for the new engines. Built by Neil Brown Engineering, champion tuners following its success introducing forced induction to the Honda Racing Civics last year, there's little reason to suggest that WSR will need time to get up to speed.

With Honda Racing's new Next Generation-spec Civic still in the early development stages and MG's challenger enduring a difficult gestation period, WSR knows that the early rounds are vitally important for their title hopes.

Race winner Rob Collard is upbeat for the year ahead: "We've got good hopes at the moment, the car was very good on the press day at Silverstone, which was very encouraging. I think at the start of the season the new engines will definitely give us an advantage and that's what we really have to focus on - getting some good solid points at the first three rounds. We've then got a break and I'm sure that the other teams that are developing their new cars will work hard and they'll be very strong for the second half of the season."

Team stalwart Collard does, however, face a strong challenge from within his own team as young hotshot Tom Onslow-Cole rejoins the squad that he made his series debut with. A title contender two years ago with the AON Ford team, Onslow-Cole is sure to want to establish himself as the team leader after a disjointed 2011 campaign. "No matter what you race, you always want to try and be as quick, or quicker than your team mate," Collard acknowledged. "Between the three of us there's going to be a little bit of a battle I should imagine, but it's very good - we're all good friends off the track and we want to try and keep it that way for the whole year."

Nick Foster joined WSR for his first year in the BTCC in 2011, finishing a respectable 14th in the standings. He also acknowledges that it's a big year for the team and feels that he is ready to help put more points on the board. "Last year was about building confidence in the car and what it could and couldn't do," he reflected. "I go forward with the experience I had last year, the first signs look good for the car, so I'm quite hopeful. My goal for round one is to try and get a top ten qualifying position and then go from there. Last year we showed that we could be part of the party, I've just got to keep that moving forward."

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch are available in advance from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.