By: Pat Cranham, BTCC reporter
West Surrey Racing have confirmed that Rob Collard and rookie Nick Foster will drive their BMW 320si in the 2011 MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Collard who finished 8th in the 2010 championship will drive for WSR for the second consecutive season, also having raced for the team back in 2005/06, then in an MG ZS. Collard didn't quite make the top step of the podium despite several second place finishes, although he has made the top step of the podium on two occasions WSR in 2005, as well as taking two victories for fellow BMW team Airwaves BMW in 2009. Collard was clearly very pleased to continue for the multiple Independent and overall Champions and said, "It's great to have the continuity with WSR as they are a very professional team and their cars are very reliable. They've been working hard on making the BMW more competitive, so I can't wait for race one at Brands Hatch on 3 April."
Team Boss Dick Bennetts was also delighted to have re-signed Collard and said, "We are really pleased to sign Rob again for 2011, as he knows how we operate and we know how he operates. Together with our engineering team, he knows how to get the best out of the BMW, so we're looking for good results from the outset."
However for Foster this will mark a huge step up as he graduates from the BMW CSL Cup, which he drove in 2010, finishing 4th in the championship taking 8 podium finishes and 1 outright victory having previously experienced a number of other racing disciplines including sportscars and even rallying.
Foster was undoubtedly delighted have secured a BTCC drive and he said, "I am delighted to have signed with WSR to run in the BTCC. Having been involved in many disciplines in motor sport, it is very exciting to be racing in the most competitive series in the UK. I am looking forward to seeing how the season shapes up."
Foster had his first taste of the WSR BMW in a test at Brands Hatch prior to Christmas where he was reported to be fast although sadly for him the day ended in a sizeable accident.
Bennetts, however, is pleased to have Foster on board although admits it is going to be a big jump and said, "It's also great to have Nick on board this year. He went well when he tested for us last year and, although it's going to be a steep learning curve for him in the BTCC, we're sure he'll go well."
No details have been given yet on sponsor's although they are set to be announced shortly as will any details on who or if they are going to have a third driver. Yet it looks certain it wont be 2010 driver Andy Neate after he tested last week for Team Aon at Brands Hatch, nor will it be 2009 BTCC champion Colin Turkington after he secured a drive in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.