Q&A with eBay Motors BTCC star Colin Turkington
Northern Irishman impressed on return to the series
By William Esler
Last Updated: 22/10/13 1:15pm
You've just completed your first season back in the BTCC since winning the title in 2009, how did you find it?
Colin Turkington: "I enjoyed being back in the series - after being out for three years I really had the taste for it again and was motivated to try and do well. It was also the perfect time for me to come back in with eBay Motors/West Surrey Racing's new NGTC car.
"I knew it wasn't going to be easy by any means to try and develop a new car through the season and compete against some very strong team and driver combinations. But saying that, I think we did remarkably well to achieve what we did and generally we were at the sharp end of the grid and to get five wins with a brand new car I think is a job well done."
Exactly, you must be pleased with how the season went - when we were at the media day, the car was still being built, the first round of the championship was just week away and everyone was talking about a development year, but you were right in the title hunt until the end.
CT: "Yeah that is right, the first few races really were testing and finding our feet, so to get back into championship contention was remarkable really. If you look back on the season it wasn't really until Oulton Park that we started to show some performance - so I had a very strong second-half of the season and that is encouraging. It is clear that the potential is there in the car, so if the team can hit the ground running, I think the package is very good."
What do you think of the NGTC cars? Was it the right way for the BTCC to go, or should they have stuck with the S2000 rule set used by the WTCC?
CT: "I think for the BTCC it was the right way to go. A change is always good - there are pitfalls with every formula - but I think in general people seem quite happy with the formula and I think given the number of cars on the grid and the general interest, from that side you have to say it is a success.
"The signs are that there will be a maximum grid of cars next year and that illustrates the desire there is to be in the BTCC. The cars are probably more fun to drive now as well - they are quicker, they stop very well and I think driving wise they are a good thing. They also look more spectacular and they are generally more spectacular to drive so that is always a good thing."
How much has the series changed since you last raced in it in 2009?
CT: "It has changed a little bit, but it is still very much the same BTCC paddock that you and I know. A lot of the same faces are still there - obviously there are a few new teams and drivers and the machinery is a little bit different now - but all the main things are exactly the same and in general it is the same teams and drivers at the sharp end of the grid.
"For me coming in with WSR, there was not settling in period and I think that was one of the added bonuses that I came back into the championship with a team I knew very well, in a rear-wheel drive car and we are very strong in the engineering department and as a team we know a lot about rear-wheel drive touring cars, so I think that is why we were able to develop the car so quickly."
You were on the receiving end of some aggressive moves this year that were probably a bit more than 'rubbing is racing.' What did you think of the driving standards?
CT: "I think in general the driving standards are pretty good - you are talking about isolated incidents and Snetterton was probably the only event where driving standards throughout the field maybe weren't as good as other events. Generally you have to say that they have been very good this year.
"For me the incidents that happened, I had got myself into too good a position - I had got to the front in a car that wasn't quick enough on the day - so it becomes very difficult in a rear-wheel drive car just to keep yourself out of trouble when a quicker car is behind, because naturally you have to defend, but when you take a knock on the rear, it is not easy to maintain control of the car.
"I think the answer to the question is that the driving standards were very good this year, but there were isolated incidents for everybody, but the penalty you pay in a rear-wheel drive car is much more than a front-wheel drive car."
Will you be back in the BTCC in 2014?
CT: "At the moment I don't know. It is one of my options to be back on the grid and I would really love to be back in the BTCC again next year and I've had a great time this year with eBay Motors. That is something I am working on at the moment trying to put the package together to be back on the grid again. Hopefully I'll be back."