The West Surrey Racing team have had a presence in the British Touring Car Championship since 1996 and currently run under the eBay Motors name, having previously raced as Team RAC, fielding three cars driven by Rob Collard, Tom Onslow-Cole and Nick Foster. During their time on the British Touring Car grid the team have secured five drivers titles: four Independent and one overall – the last being Colin Turkington’s double in 2009. Their 2012 campaign got off to the best possible start as Collard took a win for the team in the opening race at Brands Hatch but since then they have had a mixed season as they seemed to struggle maintaining their tyres. However, they now once again seem to be on the up as at the last two meetings they have taken away four podiums – two apiece for Rob Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole, with Nick Foster starting on pole for in the reverse grid for race 3 at Croft. Here we look closely at the team.
Rob Collard is the most experienced in the team having been around in British Touring Cars for 12 years , and this is his fifth season with the team, although not in consecutive years. He won the Independent’s Championship in 2003. This season he has taken the team’s only win and has finished on the podium three times. He has featured a lot at the start of races as he takes full advantage of the Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) to get past those in front of him.
Despite being only 25 Tom Onslow-Cole is one of the more experienced drivers on the grid having been around in the championship for six seasons. In 2009 he was left without a drive so spent some of the season driving the medical car, however was then called up to partner Tom Chilton at Team Aon. He has seven wins to his name, although none this season, but has also secured three podium positions for the team this year as well as setting four fastest laps.
Nick Foster is a relative newcomer to the championship as he joined the grid in 2011 to partner Collard. His highest ever BTCC finishing position was second at Croft last year and he finished within the top ten of the Independent Championship. He previously raced in rallies before moving to circuit racing in 2006. He has had some strong races in 2012 including starting on pole in the reverse grid at Croft.
Rob Collard: 4th = 171 points (overall), 2nd = 208 points (Ind.)
Tom Onslow-Cole: 7th = 125 points (overall), 4th = 160 points (Ind.)
Nick Foster: 11th = 70 points (overall), 8th = 107 points (Ind.)
eBay Motors: 2nd = 299 (overall), 1st = 239 points (Ind.)
What the fans like
- The fact the team remained with BMW despite it seeming that Front Wheel Drive would be a better option
- Their colour co-ordination of the rear bumpers with the drivers overalls. Collard runs with red, Foster with blue and Onslow-Cole with the green bumper
- The “never say die” attitude of the team and drivers – no matter what position, they are always battling for it whether it be for the lead or for a point, or even outside the points
- Tom Onslow-Cole is a favourite driver for a number of people
- The starts – the drivers make full use of their RWD cars at the start as they can get away faster than those around them and quite often gain a number of positions. A number of times this season Collard has found himself leading the pack after turn one, despite not starting on pole
- The longevity of the team – with so many new teams and drivers arriving on the grid every season it is nice to see the West Surrey Racing name still there after 16 years
- One fan liked that it was a team that both he and his partner liked so there are no arguments on race day
Fastest Laps: 4
Poles: 3 (1 win, two reverse grid)
There is now a seven week gap before Snetterton so can the team come back and take more wins and up the ante in the championship battle? They will hopefully remain consistent point scorers and a strong feature at the front of the grid.