Why this weekend's BTCC kick-off promises real racing thrills

Speedworks is now officially part of Toyota Gazoo Racing. What does this mean to you as a driver?

“The commercial side is strong, but it’s also great to be associated as a subsidiary to one of the best racing teams in the world. It’s great for the CV to be associated with a Le Mans-winning team, and it puts us in a strong place from a development point of view, because we can tap into their resources too. Hopefully now I can do a [Fernando] Alonso and get involved in other areas of motorsport. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”

After a strong 2019 season, do you feel a title shot is realistic in 2020?

“It’s our best chance to date. It does feel exciting. It feels like we are in a super-strong position. The goal is nothing less than to win the title. We narrowly missed out in 2018, and I feel I’ve got unfinished business.”

What are the strengths of the Toyota Corolla?

“We’ve worked on a number of areas, so there isn’t one big strength. That’s key in this championship. You don’t win it on your good days but on your bad days. Yes, you can be quick over one lap, but how does it all work when you’re struggling? We’ve always worked on having a strong, positive front end on the car, but the key is having the best bad days possible.”

What’s it like, racing against a team like West Surrey Racing?

“They’re a world-class team, but they’re not the only one on the grid. Over the past three years, it has been tougher than ever – probably more than when I was watching it as a kid. The BTCC has a fantastic pool of talent in terms of drivers, engineers and mechanics.”

Five drivers who could beat Turkington

DAN CAMMISH, 31: Team Dynamics Honda’s nearly man of 2019 heads into his third BTCC season with both eyes on the big prize. A brake failure just two laps from clinching the title dropped him to third in the table. He took only two wins last term but understands the value of scoring points consistently.

TOM INGRAM, 26: Already heading into his seventh BTCC season, all with Speedworks. Finished second to Turkington in 2018 and gave the new Corolla its debut last year as Toyota upped its support, winning four times. Appears to have everything in his armoury to bid for the title.

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