BMW Motorsport Junior driver Ricky Collard will fill in for his dad, Rob Collard this weekend at Rockingham followed by Knockhill at the end of the month while Rob recovers from a concussion after two heavy crashes at the Diamond Jubilee meeting at Snetterton in late-July.
Having tested the BMW 125i M Sport car at Silverstone late last year, and participating in many pre-event Shakedown sessions, this will be Ricky’s first foray into the British Touring Car Championship.
Ricky has been around the Championship for many years, supporting his father and younger brother Jordan, who used to race in the Ginetta Junior Championship. Ricky himself also raced in the TOCA packages, finishing second in the F4 British Championship in 2015 before becoming the runner-up in the BRDC Formula 3 Championship the following season.
He has also enjoyed success in other Championships across Europe – becoming a class-winner at the 2017 Nürburgring 24 Hours and also becoming a race winner in Germany’s ultra-competitive ADAC GT Masters series. This year, Ricky has also claimed a British GT4 podium at Oulton Park following a late call-up and also saw his car run second at the recent Spa 24 Hours before an issue forced its retirement. Ricky has this year competed primarily in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Speaking on his first ever foray into British Touring Car Championship this weekend at Rockingham and later Knockhill, Ricky said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I’ve been around the BTCC paddock throughout my childhood and teenage years watching Dad race – mostly with WSR – and I’ve been desperate to compete in the series for a long time, especially for a team with their record of success. While I never wanted my debut to be under circumstances like this, Team BMW are one of the best in the BTCC, have won the championship for the past two seasons and are right in the thick of the title battle again. My target is to do the best job I can and help score as many points as possible for the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ championships.”
Ricky’s dad Rob said, “Concussion – in motorsport, and many other sports – is something the medical profession is working hard to understand better. The advice, for now, is to sit out Rockingham and Knockhill, but if I can’t be in the car, the next best thing for me is to see another Collard in there. I’m extremely proud that Ricky will drive the ‘Collard’ Team BMW car. Giving him the benefit of my knowledge and experience of the 125i M Sport and the BTCC, alongside Ricky’s pace as a BMW Motorsport Junior, we have everything to play for, with the key objective to support the hunt for the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles.”
West Surrey Racing team principal Dick Bennetts said, “While we’re extremely sorry for Rob and wish him a speedy return, we’re pleased to be able to give Ricky Collard, a young driver with a huge amount of talent, an opportunity to drive the Team BMW 125i M Sport at Rockingham and Knockhill. Ricky tested the BMW with us last November and was extremely impressive. For a young driver who had never been behind the wheel of a touring car before, his pace and – in particular – his technical feedback, were very strong. It will be very important to use the free practice sessions wisely as we try to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”
BMW currently lead the Manufactures points from Honda by twenty-nine points but sit third in the Teams’ Standings – one point behind Power Maxed Tag Racing and fifteen points behind the Halfords Yuasa Racing team who currently lead the standings on 268 points as we get closer and closer to the business end of the season.
I’m sure Ricky will give it his all alongside Championship contender Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan.
By Jordan Hollands.