Ahead of the 2015 Dunlop BTCC Media Day today, colinturkington.com has had an exclusive chat to the 2014 Champion to discuss the big developments from his massive February announcement…
Q: Well Colin, how are you settling into your new team?
Colin: Things are great. Starting this new project is a huge challenge for me but it’s refreshing to be with a new team and getting to grips with a completely different car. The car itself feels much bigger than the BMW and has many different characteristics. Team BMR is bursting with motivation, energy and an inspiring hunger to be the best. Already it feels like home and I couldn’t be happier.
Q: How many test days have you had in the VW and what are the main things you have been working on?
Colin: We’ve had the car at Thruxton, Snetterton, Oulton Park, Brands Hatch and Croft since the announcement in February, where we’ve had one or two days at each circuit. The weather has been quite kind to us apart from the opening day at Thruxton which really turned out to be a shakedown. It was important for me to get as much seat time as possible, so it’s been a very worthwhile programme. I’ve been able to blow off the winter cobwebs, get myself comfortable in the car and familiarise with the handling characteristics of the VW. As a team we have been working through the test programme with our engineers and trying to bring the car to a level of drivability that we can push it to the limit. It’s all about confidence and getting the car handling to your liking so that you can wring every last 100th of second out of it. We’ve been making great strides but we know there is plenty more to do to be a consistent frontrunner. I guess we won’t really know just how far we’ve come until Brands Hatch in two weeks time.
Q: How have you found the switch from RWD to FWD, and what will be the biggest challenge for you as a driver having made the switch?
Colin: Without a doubt going from RWD back to FWD is a big step and something I knew I had to work extremely hard at. It’s relatively easy to jump in the car and drive it quickly, but it’s about understanding how to wring out that last bit of performance and what the FWD car needs to make it go fast. The strategy behind warming tyres and approaching a qualifying lap is completely different for instance, so there are lots of new things for me to get my head around. I’ve had to adjust my driving style and instinctive thought process in the car to suit and also try to think about a car that is in a large scale redevelopment process, so it’s not been easy. That being said, I’m enjoying the learning process and it’s really motivating every time we improve the car.
Q: And the big question on everyone’s lips, how are you getting on with your new team mates?
Colin: Fantastic so far…. We are all working well together and the relationships are improving all the time. Jason brings a huge amount of current FWD experience to the team so I’ve been able to learn a lot from him. Aron and Warren already have a good understanding of the VW so I think we have the perfect balance. It’s definitely a strong line up and I’m sure we’ll push each other hard throughout the season, which will only help speed up the development of the VW.
Q: With Media Day kicking things off today and the beginning of the season in 2 weeks time, what are your goals for this year?
Colin: Last year was an incredible for me. I was at the top of my game in the BMW and I took great pleasure in helping to develop the car into such a potent force and ultimately championship winner. But that’s all in the history books and right now I’m focusing on what lies ahead. This is a new chapter and a brand new beginning for me. You can never afford to become complacent and I know I have to work even harder this year to get to the front. I’m starting the championship with realistic expectations and will do my best to maximise the package I’ve got at any given time. I’m not going to aim for anything less than victory, but I just have different milestones to aim at in the short term. Being with Team BMR is a move I’ve made because of the potential of the team and what we can do in the future. It’s a very exciting time and hopefully the rewards for all our hard work is not too far away.