Great Britain's Andy Priaulx will celebrate his 100th race with BMW in the World and European Touring Car Championships in Monza this Sunday. The reigning World Champion took touring car racing by storm: In only his second full season with BMW he won the 2004 FIA ETCC title and claimed the world title in both 2005 and 2006 for BMW Team UK. With four races to go to the end of this season, Priaulx leads the WTCC drivers' classification, a promising position to be in to win his fourth consecutive title.
"For four years, Andy Priaulx has set the benchmark in touring car racing," says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "He represents the BMW brand and he is held in high esteem by racing fans around the world. Talent, ambition and motivation are some of the prerequisites for his unprecedented string of success. I congratulate Andy on his 100th race, and I'm convinced that he will score many more wins and titles for us in the future."
For Priaulx, the 100th race quite obviously carries special meaning. He comments: "It has always been my goal to become integrated with a major car manufacturer on a long-term basis. It makes me proud that my cooperation with BMW, one of the best brands in the world, has lasted so long and that we have been able to celebrate so many triumphs together. Hopefully at least another 100 races and more successes lie ahead of us."
Bart Mampaey, Team Principal of the BMW Team UK, is happy when looking back at the teamwork with Priaulx. "100 races for Andy Priaulx mean 100 races full of success, determination and enthusiasm. It's nice for him to do his 100th race in Monza, which has a long motor racing history. I hope that are our joint history continues at this high performance level for a long time. For us, however, races 101 and 102 will also be extremely important when we are fighting for the title in Macau."
Some interesting facts about the career of Andy Priaulx:
- Priaulx's list of success following 58 WTCC and 40 ETCC races is an impressive read: He has scored 16 wins and claimed 41 podium finishes. The Guernsey-born racing driver took his maiden ETCC victory on 25th May 2003 in Brno. The fans in Oschersleben witnessed his first ever WTCC win in 2005. To date Priaulx has scored six pole positions and 14 fastest race laps. In the World Championship, he has accumulated a total of 255 points. In the ETCC, the driver of BMW Team UK, which is run by Belgian Bart Mampaey, scored 211 points.
- Priaulx secured all his titles in touring car racing during the final race weekend. In 2004 he was 12 points behind in the ETCC drivers' classification before the final rounds in Dubai, but still succeeded in winning the title. In addition, Priaulx proved to be among the all-time greats when it comes to racing on the twisty "Guia Circuit" in Macau. In 2005 and 2006 he was on pole there, thus giving himself the best possible starting point for winning the world title during the gripping season finale.
- Since 2003 Priaulx covered a total of 4,857 kilometres in ETCC or WTCC races. He spent no less than 894 kilometres in the lead.
- No other WTCC driver has scored points on such a consistent basis as Priaulx. He finished among the top-8 in 45 out of 58 races. Back in the early stages of his career he performed at an extremely consistent level: In 1995 Priaulx became the British F1 Hillclimb Champion by winning ten out of ten events. 1999 saw another perfect season for the 33-year-old: He scored 13 victories in 13 races in the Renault Spider series - and claimed pole position for every race.
- Priaulx not only celebrated victories with BMW in the ETCC and the WTCC. In 2005 he won the legendary Nurburgring 24 Hours at the wheel of a BMW M3 GTR, teaming up with Pedro Lamy (POR), Boris Said (USA) and Duncan Huisman (NED).
- After his 2004 ETCC triumph, Priaulx was given the opportunity by BMW to have his maiden Formula 1 test. In Valencia, he did a total of 64 laps on 27th January 2005. Further appearances as an F1 test driver were to follow. In 2006 and 2007 Priaulx has also been one of the drivers at the wheel of the Formula 1 car in the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park.