Colin Turkington set the pace in the first pre-season test of the 2022 British Touring Car Championship yesterday, topping the standings in the morning and afternoon sessions at Donington Park.
fter a delayed start to proceedings due to low fog, Turkington was quick to make up for lost time and followed up with the second most laps on record.
Turkington’s best effort on the 1.9-mile circuit before the lunch break was one minute 10.005 seconds, with his average speed of 101.77 mph aboard the BMW 330e M Sport also setting the benchmark.
The four-time Portadown tin champion picked up where he left off in the second session by increasing his speed to lap the Leicestershire venue in one minute 9.104 seconds. The gap to him and an upgraded Gordon Shedden in the Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R was 0.145 seconds.
For Turkington and the West Surrey Racing Team, the test couldn’t have gone better as they try to get to grips with the hybrid power system developed by Cosworth – a new addition to this year’s BTCC as part of the an overhaul of the rules.
Replacing the success of the ballast, the 58-volt battery stores the energy recovered during braking and is used to power an electric motor that produces an additional 40 hp.
“The BMW team have worked extremely hard throughout the winter to ensure we can get off to a flying start. Reliability will always be a factor and my car ran flawlessly today,” said Turkington.
“It got us through the test program so yeah, I appreciate being back in the car, although we still have a lot to learn – we’re all still a bit green on the hybrid side. has a lot of experimentation and since it was a test day, we tried a lot of solutions, so it was very productive.
“The first experience of the hybrid, which we’ve all been looking forward to, you definitely feel a lift in terms of power and performance. When you deploy the energy, you feel it increases the acceleration.
“Of course we’re going to go faster this year, which is a good thing, but we still have to focus on the handling and the chassis, because that’s number one. We want to make the car mechanically faster and with the hybrid added I think we’re going to have a fast package.
Another day of official testing is scheduled for Croft next Wednesday (April 6) before all eyes turn to Thruxton seven days later. As well as being the last official test before the new campaign begins at Donington on April 23, it will also host the season launch.