Newly-crowned three-time Dunlop MSA British Touring Car champion Colin Turkington admits his third title is the most special after enduring what he has described as the toughest year of his life away from the circuit.
The Team BMW driver secured the crown on a dramatic final day of the season at Brands Hatch this past weekend (September 29/30) to join an exclusive list of triple champions.
In what has arguably been the BTCC’s most competitive season to-date in the modern era, the Northern Irishman showcased his title credentials with a consistent season that culminated in him scoring just a solitary victory at Oulton Park.
Scoring a further nine podiums along the way, Turkington fended off the charging Tom Ingram to lift the coveted trophy for a third time and in-doing so, be crowned champion in the series’ 60th Anniversary season.
Commenting on his title success, Turkington said: “This title is the most special, it is difficult to believe that it has actually all happened. On Sunday morning I woke up as a double champion and by the evening I went to bed as a triple champion.
“This year has been the hardest of my life and the struggles we have been through as a family have been tough. The BTCC has been the one thing that has kept us happy though and coming here, getting results has been a ray of light for us.
“I had so many reasons why I wanted to win it this year and I was hungrier than ever to do so. We laid the groundwork coming into Brands Hatch but we knew it was going to be tough.
Whilst his third title will write his name into the history books, so will his single victory of 2018 - a feat never before achieved by a driver that would end the year as champion.
Admitting that the competition in the BTCC has been tougher than ever, the BMW driver revealed playing to their strengths was the secret behind his and West Surrey Racing’s success this year.
He explained: “We haven’t had the fastest car this year and as we have seen the competition is fierce; everybody is fast and it gets a step more difficult every year.
“We were clever throughout the year and played to our strengths, maximising what we had along the way too. From Thruxton onwards we began to find our groove and had momentum on our side, we were strong everywhere pretty much.”
Now with all-time record holder Andy Rouse, who holds four titles, in his sights, Turkington admits he would like nothing more than to return and defend his title in 2019 with the number one adorning his car.
“I love this championship and I hope to come back next year and defend my title,” he stated. “For now though I am going to live in the moment and soak up what we as a family and as a team have achieved this year.”
Turkington’s triumph was further backed up with West Surrey Racing and BMW successfully retaining their BTCC Teams Championship and BTCC Manufacturer/Constructors Championship respectively.