Stephen Jelley has completed Team BMW‘s line-up for the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season and will make his return to the WSR-ran team for the first time in 12 years.
Jelley re-joining the outfit sees him also return to familiar surroundings in terms of his team-mate in four-time BTCC champion Colin Turkington who alongside Tom Oliphant completes the line-up.
The thirty-eight-year-old Leicester racer made his BTCC debut in a WSR-run BMW 320si in 2008 where he gained his first pole position in his rookie season at Brands Hatch before a first podium finish at Croft the following season.
His most successful weekend came in 2009 where he took a double victory at Rockingham which proved to be pivotal for the teams’ success that year.
Jelley left the series to race GT cars in the UK and internationally but returned in 2017 and has spent the past three seasons with Team Parker Racing in a WSR-built BMW 125i M Sport and returned to the top step of the podium at Oulton Park in 2019.
Together with Turkington and Oliphant, they have 60 BTCC race wins combined, 168 podiums and WSR as a team having 13 titles including 13 in the past seven seasons which they will hope to add to when they head to Thruxton to begin the season in May.
“I’m thrilled to return to WSR as part of Team BMW for 2021. There were times over the past few years – even when I was winning and getting podiums in the 1 Series – that I wasn’t sure I’d have an opportunity like this again, so to say that I’m looking forward to the season would be a huge understatement,” said Jelley.
“When I walked into the workshop for the first time in over a decade, the first thing that I noticed was just how many trophies there are on the shelves now, and that’s incredibly inspiring. I’ve spent the past few years in a WSR-built BMW 1 Series, so there won’t be an issue adapting to the 330i M Sport, and I’m pleased to have both Colin and Tom in the team because I think we can all work together well to keep pushing ourselves forwards. I’ve been given the best possible platform to achieve what I want to in the BTCC and I don’t intend to waste it.”
Dick Bennetts, Team Principal for WSR is looking forward to Jelley returning to the fold alongside Turkington and Oliphant. “We’re very pleased to have Stephen back at WSR and part of the Team BMW line-up for 2021. When Stephen joined us first-time around, he’d come out of single-seaters and was completely new to touring car racing, but he knuckled down and did a good job to score his first pole position in his rookie year and then a magnificent double win at Rockingham in 2009.”
“His performances in the WSR-built 1 Series over the past couple of years have shown that he remains a tenacious racer who performs best in rear-wheel-drive cars. Personality-wise, he fits in very well with the whole team as well as Colin and Tom so we’re very pleased with the strength of our line-up heading into the new season.”