Tom O-C in position of strength with eBay Motors

First published in Motorsport

Team boss Dick Bennetts has warned West Surrey Racing is in for its strongest season in the British Touring Car Championship since it won the title in 2009.

New Malden’s Tom Onslow-Cole was last week confirmed in the three-driver eBay Motors-backed outfit – alongside Rob Collard and Nick Foster – for the 2012 season.

West Surrey masterminded Colin Turkington’s BTCC drivers’ championship title in 2009.

And New Zealander Bennetts, whose team will run S2000-based 3 Series BMWs this season, expects his team to be front runners again.

“We will be at our most competitive since 2009. If you asked me if I’d got a nice warm feeling inside then I’d say yes,” he said last week.

“This will be our last time with an S2000-based car but, on paper, with turbo engines, this should be very competitive for us.

“We ran an S2000 BMW turbo in last year’s World Touring Car round in Shanghai and instantly got in among the factory Chevrolets.

“That was with a 1.6-litre engine and in the BTCC it’s two litres, but we’ll be able to carry over the same drivetrain and gearbox from the World Touring-spec BMW.”

West Surrey Racing will be reunited with Neil Brown Engineering this season – the company will tune its BMW engines as well as preparing Honda units for the Honda Racing Team’s title-winning Civics.

The WSR and NBE partnership won the 1990 and 1991 British Formula Three titles with Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen and challenged for the BTCC title in 2000.

But Bennetts has warned against over confidence.

“The other teams are no mugs and you never know until the racing starts just where you are in terms of performance,” he added.

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