Sam Tordoff continued his transition to rear-wheel drive with the West Surrey Racing BMW 125i, saying that the car’s strongest asset will be its race pace during the 30 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races of 2015.
The Yorkshireman made a winter switch from the Triple Eight MG squad to current Teams’ Championship holders, WSR, after two victories with the former in his two BTCC seasons to date after racing Clios and Porsches on the TOCA package previously.
Both Tordoff and team-mate Rob Collard revealed the new livery for the BMWs on Tuesday (24 March) at Donington Park during the 2015 BTCC season launch, Tordoff feeling buoyant for the year ahead.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag, Tordoff said: “I’m excited. The important things are that the car looks good in its new livery and we’re all just about set now for the season.
“It’s nice to be in this car, I think we’re going to have some great results this year and it will be a step forward. We just need to figure out what it was that made Colin [Turkington] a superstar!”
The BMWs of himself and Collard ended the Donington Park test on Tuesday 10th and 16th respectively, although the results did not paint an accurate picture as sleet affected the running twice in the four hours.
Tordoff admitted that the 125i will be at its best in race conditions, leaving one-lap pace the focal point of improvement for the opening round at Brands Hatch on 4/5 April.
“It’s mostly about racking up the laps trying to learn stuff really” he continued. “I’ve never actually been [to Donington] in the BMW before so it took a little while just to learn different gears compared to the MG and try to figure my way around it.
“We’re just having a bit of trouble turning the tyres on to get a good lap out of it. Our race pace however is very good – we can turn the same lap times all day.”
A talking point throughout the season will however be the changes in technical regulations applied for 2015, several of which appear aimed towards reigning in rear-wheel drive machines such as the BMW and Audi. Alongside changes such as altering the position of penalty ballast and introducing engine mapping modifications each meeting, 75kg will be the maximum success ballast carried by the race winners this season.
Tordoff feels that WSR are well equipped to cope with the weight improvements, saying: “I think this year the key things is the 75kg going into each car, which is going to make a massive difference. I’m hoping that we are going to be able to handle that a lot better than everyone else.
“It’s going to handicap us anyway, but how it does compared to the others is a bit of an unknown at the moment. The important thing is that, generally, just by the laws of physics, we are going to be slightly better than most.
“The downside of that is of course getting the tyres to work in qualifying.”
Tordoff insists that there is a calm attitude within the squad, which will now join Honda, MG and Infiniti as a Constructor/Manufacturer entry in 2015, focusing on consistent points finishes rather than early heroics.
“With base weight in our car at Brands Hatch, we should be good. It’ll help not having 32 cars on the grid which might help clear a bit of traffic in qualifying, then we’ve just got to try and put together a lap time. Come race day, we’ll be fine.”
“There’s no major rush. We have to finish in either the top five or top 10 in all three races at Brands Hatch and get some points on the board.
“As the season goes on, we’ll come to circuits that suit us a bit more and I’ll be a bit better in the car with experience. Oulton and even Knockhill, plus Snetterton which I really like – we’ve got some great circuits to come. Whatever happens at Brands is not the end of the world.”
On the switch to RWD, Tordoff concluded: “I’ve now got a different mindset of front-wheel drive v rear-wheel drive! It’s all kind of the other way round now; you now don’t worry about qualifying as much and you know you’re going to come good in the races.”