After three previously challenging weekends in the opening rounds of the BTCC series, the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team made some changes to the chassis and engine after withdrawing from the proceedings at Thruxton. A two day test followed in Wales to ensure that the gremlins were put to bed before travelling to Oulton Park. Speaking of the test Team Manager Alan Cole commented “Recent progress was made with the chassis and engine after a two day test at Pembrey. We would like to thank Mountune who have put in a huge effort to produce a competitive engine in such a short space of time.”
The Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team then backed that up when they entered the history books at Oulton Park at the weekend with Double Champion Colin Turkington scoring the team’s first Subaru win in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
With all four cars having shown good pace in the two Saturday morning free practice sessions, the team went into the afternoons qualifying session feeling confident of a good result. Colin Turkington delivered the goods producing a blistering 1m:26.264s lap around the 2.26 mile Cheshire circuit, setting the team’s first Silverline Subaru pole position. Jason was running in 2nd place for the first part of the session and eventually qualified in an impressive 6th with a time of 1m:26.366s. James set the 18th quickest time with Warren qualifying in 23rd and just 1.025s adrift of Colin’s benchmark time.
For the opening race of the weekend Colin made a great start from pole position fighting off challenges from Sam Tordoff in the BMW during the opening stages, before stretching his lead with a lights to flag victory and making it the team’s first ever win in the Subaru Levorg GT sports tourer. Jason endured a great battle with Honda’s Gordon Shedden after finally making the move on lap 12 and placing him in 3rd position, making it a double podium for the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team. Warren and James both drove a great race and finished in 17th and 18th respectively. The team were also handed the manufacturer win that was greatly received by the Managing Director of Subaru UK Paul Tunnicliffe.
For race two all four drivers would start in their finishing positions from the opener. With Colin back on pole and Jason set to line up in 3rd, both drivers made a great start but Tordoff immediately took the lead leaving Colin and Jason battling for 2nd. Colin held off Jason and took the place ahead of his team mate in 3rd, making it another outstanding double podium with celebrations all round for the team. Warren brought his car home in 19th as James retired from the race after suffering a hit from behind causing him braking issues.
The reverse grid for Race 3 would see Honda’s Matt Neal drawn on pole position with Jason set to line up in 5th, Colin 7th, Warren 18th and James 31st. The 15 lap final shoot out was a great end to the day with an exciting battle for 3rd position between several competitors including Jason and Colin, which lingered throughout the entire race. A last gasp opportunity at Lodge corner would see Jason passing around the outside of several drivers that produced a hat-trick of third place finishes. Colin held onto a fantastic 7th place as both James and Warren pitted dropping them both down the order and as the flag fell Warren crossed the line in 24th with James retiring in pit-lane.
Silverline Subaru BMR Racing were awarded the Team Trophy for the weekend.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now moves on to Croft in Yorkshire in two weeks’ time (18th & 19th June).
Paul Tunnicliffe Managing Director of Subaru UK commented “After the disappointment of Thruxton this result tasted very sweet indeed. We always had faith in the car, the team and drivers, and knew that this day was bound to come. With scope for more development, we are confident that this will be no flash in the pan.”
Warren Scott commented “Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Subaru UK, Jason, Colin, James and everyone in the team at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing along with all of our sponsors for getting us here. I am very proud of everyone involved in the project and everyone should remember that these cars are only six months old and we have just won our first race. We are all absolutely delighted”.
Colin Turkington commented “Oulton Park was the moment we’ve all been waiting on and worked so hard for. The true potential of the Subaru Levorg finally came to the fore and it was a weekend none of us will forget in a hurry. I’m so pleased for everyone involved and I hope in some small way this repays the incredible efforts over the past five months. It was a special feeling to make history and deliver the maiden win for Subaru in the BTCC and in truth it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I can’t imagine anyone expected such rapid progress, but we knew it was only a matter of time. It’s even more encouraging to see the cars run so well with success ballast after Race 1 and we’re even more convinced the Subaru Levorg will become a real championship challenger.”
Jason Plato Commented “What a fantastic weekend for everyone at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing. We should be enormously proud of our successes at Oulton Park. We really have arrived in some style. The future is very bright for us all and I can’t wait to get back in the car for Croft.
James Cole Commented “is it Croft yet!!?? I cannot wait to get back in this fantastic car and tackle the next circuit. A massive congratulations to Colin, Jason and the rest of the Subaru Silverline BMR Racing team on such an amazing weekend. Sadly for myself the cards didn’t fall for me like I’d hoped. Oulton Park is a circuit I know well and really expected better. A few issues pre-qualifying put our car on the back foot going into qualifying, which in reality at the moment effected my whole weekend. We have a fantastic car, we just need to make it a little faster in race pace; if we can do this we will be such a force to be reckoned with….. So, is it Croft yet!!??”