Rob Collard was impressed by the early performance of Team BMW‘s latest B48 engine ahead of the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session of the season.
All three BMW 125i machines – equipped with a heavily-upgraded engine for 2017 – finished the morning’s first practice session at Brands Hatch inside the top six, Collard best of all in second overall.
With times still over a tenth off the ultimate lap record of early pace-setter, Tom Ingram, Collard said that the updates under the bonnet were coping very well despite limited testing.
“The engine is going very well”, Collard told The Checkered Flag after second practice. “It’s also very driveable.
“We were P2 this morning and I’m delighted with how it’s going at the moment. What matters is that it has been strong and reliable.”
Initial running with the new engine came during Donington’s Media Day outing in March, a more recent test proving vital to improving reliability ahead of the first meeting of the season.
Collard added: “I think we’re on top of it. When we started testing it at [Media Day], there were a few little niggles, but we had another test on Monday and crucially ironed out a lot of the problems.
“You’d want to have more time, but we’re happy with where we’re starting.”
On BMW’s chances of pole position, Collard kept his cards close to his chest, saying: “You really don’t know yet. If you know that, then you may as well put the lottery on after qualifying.”