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BTCC's Tordoff makes WSR BMW debut at Brands Hatch

Thursday, December 11 2014

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship ace Sam Tordoff took part in his first test since being announced as a WSR driver at Brands Hatch today (Thursday). He spoke to MSV about his reasons for leaving MG and Triple Eight for the champion team.

"I wanted to stand on my own two feet," he explained. "I'd had two good years at MG and learnt a lot off Jason [Plato], so it was a good time for me to move on, rather than the feeling of getting comfortable in the team and becoming stale. There's nothing better than being given an opportunity to be in a championship-winning car and to drive for Dick Bennetts [WSR Team Principal]. It gives me a real opportunity of fighting for a championship next year."

Sam's move means that he'll have driven for two of the top three BTCC teams. "There are quite a few differences between them and it's quite refreshing to see a different way of working," he said. "I've brought my engineer with me from Triple Eight to give me some continuity in what is otherwise a completely new environment for me. Obviously the car is different, being rear-wheel-drive compared to front-wheel-drive, and there's a lot of differences in how the team runs and how they operate, so it's a challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

There has been a lot of talk about the differences between front and rear-wheel-drive cars and the move places Sam in the position of being able to compare the two. "I wouldn't say I can see why it's quicker," he admitted. "I can see why it is different to the MG, it has different characteristics and of course it's better over a race distance, but that's the natural characteristic of a rear-wheel-drive car in that it's kinder to its tyres. I can understand why Colin's done such a good job, but also he's won the championship because he's very good and I think for my benefit I want him in the seat alongside me. I'm not scared of having a quick team-mate - I've had Jason for the last two years, and I think it would bring me on as a driver, so I want Colin to be back. Although if he doesn't, at least we've got his data from last year, so I've got a good starting point there."

Bennetts has confirmed that one of the drivers he has spoken to about a drive in one of the team's three seats for 2015 is multiple WTCC champion Andy Priaulx and Sam wouldn't mind him on side, either: "It would be lovely. I'm not sure whether there's any truth in that rumour, and I don't know Andy personally, but I wouldn't shy away from that at all. He's a factory BMW driver, there's no-one better to learn off than him."

There's a parallel between Tordoff and Priaulx too; in 2003 Andy moved from a works Honda drive to be part of the BMW family. "What a great brand to be part of," Sam said. "And an attractive one for my sponsors: [car dealership and personal sponsor] JCT600 are selling BMWs as well, so it's a win-win for both myself and my sponsors."

Click here to purchase tickets for all MSV rounds of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, available at 2014 prices if ordered before Christmas.