Rob Collard is the surprise new signing for West Surrey Racing for this year’s British Touring Car Championship.

Collard had been expected to sign with Motorbase once again after winning with the team twice last year on his way to sixth in the championship.

“I could see these BMWs on track last year and they just looked awesome,” Collard said. “It was a very difficult decision for me to make a late switch from Motorbase.

“However, I have to think about what’s best for my career and to now be driving in a championship-winning team is a big bonus.”

Collard will be lining up alongside Andy Neate in a pair of 320si BMW’s, it’s understood that the team are still trying to finalise a deal to run a third car for reigning champion Colin Turkington.

“It will be really great to have Rob back with us in a BMW,” he said. “Rob already has two years’ experience in the 320si. We are really looking forward to see how he performs with our set-ups on the car.”

Motorbase performance team boss David Bartrum was understandably disappointed at the decision taken by his former driver to switch teams. Collard had already tested at Thruxton for Motorbase so the announcement came as a shock.

“Naturally I am disappointed that Rob has opted to go elsewhere because as far as we were aware we had an agreement and I believed him to be a man of his word,”

“Nevertheless these are exciting times for Motorbase and we have a major backer and an associate sponsor to reveal within the next week with our full driver line-up,” said Bartrum.

Photo credit: BTCC.net