The excitement continues to escalate as the 2007 Bridgestone Production Car Championship teams head for Cape Town and the next round of the championship.
After a dismal start to the season by the team's high standards, BMW Motorsport has one goal at Killarney Race Circuit on 31 March - to win.
"We definitely haven't started the season off in the manner we would have liked," explains BMW SA Motorport Manager Danie Human. "At the opening round in Durban, the track really didn't suit the gearing characteristics of our cars and we had some bad luck too. Kyalami wasn't much better as we struggled with various mechanical difficulties despite being consistently the quickest cars out on the circuit.
"Since then we have focused very strongly on the reliability of the Castrol BMW 330i race cars and we're confidant that our hard work will pay dividends come race day next weekend."
The performance equalisation system adopted by the series should also play into the hands of the BMW team. Drivers incur weight penalties to a maximum of 40 kilograms with first, second, third and fourth place incurring 20, 15, 10 and 10 kilograms respectively. In addition, 5 kilograms of weight is allocated to each driver for every 10 championship points scored to a maximum of 20 kilograms. This means that the Nissan and Audi teams should be at a weight disadvantage throughout the weekend.
Multiple Production Car champion Anthony Taylor is all too aware of this. "It's been a difficult start to the season," he commented. "We've had the pace but we haven't been able to maximise our potential as yet. As a small consolation prize we go to Killarney with a weight advantage. This will work in our favour down the very long Killarney back straight."
Teammate Etienne van der Linde has been in sight of victory this season but has also been hampered by technical problems, and the bad luck of getting caught up in other driver's mistakes and mishaps. "It looked as though victory was on the cards at Kyalami, until an engine problem caused me to retire. We know we have the pace and we have been working hard on out reliability so I'm confident of a strong result in Cape Town."
Class A newcomer Clint Weston is on a steep learning curve this year as he makes the adjustment from front- to rear-wheel drive. "It has been somewhat more difficult than I expected," he explains. "However we have done a lot of testing since the start of the year and I am learning all the time.
"As yet, I haven't driven the 330i at Killarney so my main goal will be to get to grips with the car around the high speed circuit. I expect to be on the pace by Saturday and I'm hoping for a strong showing in the race."
"The 2007 Championship is shaping up to be a closely fought affair, and we would like to thank sponsors Castrol, Afinta Parts, BMW Original Parts, Jonnesway Professional Tools and Sabelt by First Race for all they?ve done for us so far," concludes Human. "Although it's likely that there will be some new faces winning races this year, we're aiming to be on the top step of the podium more often than not to give our sponsors a real thank you!"