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3 (Series) is the magic number for BMW in 2019 BTCC

Wednesday, February 27 2019

The legendary 3 Series name returns to the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this year, with BMW confirming the return of its iconic saloon to the championship today.

The 3 Series is one of the BTCC's most successful names, and has previously produced five Drivers' titles and two Manufacturers' crowns, from Frank Sytner in 1988 to Colin Turkington in 2009. In-between, there were back-to-back championships for Will Hoy (1991), Tim Harvey (1992) and Joachim Winkelhock (1993).

The 3 Series returns following a successful stint for the 125i M Sport between 2013 and 2018, which yielded an additional two Drivers' trophies, three Manufacturers' titles, and Teams' success in each of the past three seasons.

Reigning champion Turkington remains with Team BMW for 2019 as he aims to defend his title with a record-equalling fourth BTCC crown. Alongside Turkington in Team BMW will be Tom Oliphant, whilst Andrew Jordan will race a third 330i M Sport under the BMW Pirtek Racing banner.

The BTCC's official pre-season test takes place on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on 27 March, ahead of the opening rounds of the championship on 6-7 April.

Fans can then see the new BMW in action at Donington Park on 27-28 April, Oulton Park on 29-30 June, Snetterton on 3-4 August, and then again at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit season finale on 12-13 October.

Graeme Grieve, CEO, BMW UK, said: "The BMW 3 Series has a rich and successful history competing in the BTCC and we are extremely proud to see that tradition continue. This all-new BMW 3 Series is the road-going dynamic benchmark and we have a great track record working with our partners at West Surrey Racing, so 2019 looks set to be a very exciting year for us inthe BTCC."

Dick Bennetts, Team Principal, West Surrey Racing, said: "We are delighted to be bringing the BMW 3 Series back to the BTCC. We achieved a great deal of success with the fifth-generation model between 2007 and 2012, so we are hugely excited to see what the latest version is capable of. A lot of hard work and countless hours lie ahead, but we are all confident of turning this car into a winner and reinstating it in its rightful place - at the front of the field in Britain's premier motorsport series."

Colin Turkington, 2009, 2014 and 2018 BTCC champion, said: "As far as pre-seasons go, it doesn't get much better than this! Back in 2009, I clinched my first Drivers' title in a BMW 3 Series, and to commence a new chapter with the new model for Team BMW is a dream come true. This exciting project has delivered a potent dose of motivation into an already dedicated team and we are inspired to get going. It's a very busy time for the engineering team back at base as they build and develop the cars for the new season, but the expertise is there to get the job done. The new-look road car is stunning and the race car will be something else! It's an amazing time to be involved and I'm honoured to have this role."