West Surrey Racing have announced that they are currently building a BMW 1-Series, based on the 125i M sport, built to the Next Generation Touring Car format to contest the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Speaking on the decision to switch to the 1-Series, team boss Dick Bennetts said, "We chose the new 1-Series as we felt it was more suitable to the current BTCC regulations. The wheelbase is quite a lot shorter than the new 3-Series car, so it should perform well on the tight twisty circuits that we race on in the UK. With the introduction of the new model BMW 125i M Sport, we are confident of being very competitive throughout the 2013 season."
WSR first ran the Ford works programme during the super touring era before running with Honda until the demise of the super touring cars in 2000. Following that they were entrusted with running the MG works programme from 2001-2003 during the new BTCC-spec era.
The MG works effort came to an end at the end of the 2003 season but the team continued to use MG’s up to the end of the 2006 season; with the most notable success coming in 2004 with Anthony Reid winning the Independent trophy in 2004.
WSR ‘s most successful period in the BTCC came between 2007-09, with the BMW 3 series under the name of Team RAC, with Colin Turkington winning the Independent trophy 3 years running and clinched the overall drivers crown in 2009.
After a two year absence from the top of the podium, WSR returned to the top step in 2012 with Rob Collard, who also drove for the team in 2005/06 before returning in 2010 and winning the opening round of the series at Brands Hatch before going on to take a further two wins at Knockhill.
Collard was joined in 2012 by Tom Onslow-Cole, who took a number of podiums, and Nick Foster, who was spending his second year with the team. Although he couldn’t quite manage a podium like in 2011, he did manage some impressive showings most notably at Silverstone where he just missed out on a podium with 4th.
The major factor in WSR’s return to form for 2012 was the all new Turbo engine as developed by Neil Brown Engineering. The team has already confirmed that they will continue with the same engine as last season, and that they will remain to be known as eBay Motors as they continue to be supported by the online automotive company.
We look forward to a competitive and successful 2013 season as eBay Motor.
Andrew Hooks head of eBay hard goods is extremely happy to continue the partnership and said, "We are excited by the prospect of a fourth BTCC season supporting the WSR team and the addition of the new BMW 1-Series. Being part of the championship has given us the opportunity to share our passion for the world of motors and highlight our huge selection of parts, accessories and vehicles on our UK site. We look forward to a competitive and successful 2013 season as eBay Motor."
The team hopes to make an announcement on driver line up shortly; although it will be a surprise if Collard doesn’t continue with the team while Onslow-Cole is also believed to prefer to remain with the team.
It’s unclear how many cars WSR will run in 2013. Turkington hopes to return to the team who he ran with from 2003-09 apart from 2005. Since then he has continued to work closely with the team and has been run by them in the occasional World Touring Car event but hasn’t been seen in the British championship, due to budgetary reasons, since becoming champion in 2009.