By Mick Palmer
Stephen Jelley has confirmed that he will return to West Surrey Racing for a third consecutive season to contest the 2023 British Touring Car Championship.
The Leicester born driver will continue his association with the team that first began in 2008, and will also hit the track for his seventh campaign in a BMW as he guns for wins in his seventh season with the marque.
On the back of his best championship since 2009 Jelley aims to build on the strong performance he delivered in 2022.“I’m really pleased to be back with the team for 2023,£ he stated “I was a lot more competitive last year, but we didn’t get the results we should have, for various reasons, so I think we can improve. I’m looking forward to giving it everything and I’ve been working hard to improve all aspects of my driving. I want to treat every race like it’s my last and give it everything.”
With Jake Hill and Adam Morgan already confirmed the team are expected to announce four time champion Colin Turkington as being retained in the near future. “It’s a privilege to be part of West Surrey Racing as it is incredibly competitive with some great drivers,” Jelley continued. “It was a pleasure to work with Jake [Hill] and Colin [Turkington] last year, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was possible to finish as the lead WSR driver.”
WSR have picked up equipment from the now defunct Ciceley team as Morgan steps across and it reminds Jelley of his own move from the Team Parker BMW 125 M Sport for the 2021 season. “It will be interesting to see what Adam brings to the team and what might be different,” he said. “But every day is a school day. When I came over from Team Parker Racing, I brought some things I did differently, so it’ll be good to see what I can learn from Adam.”
Team principal Dick Bennetts said: “We’re delighted to have Stephen on board for another season. He’s an extremely popular member of the team here at WSR and made excellent progress with the hybrid BMW 330e M Sport last year.
“His average qualifying position in 2022 was the best he’s had in a BTCC season. Coming in a year when the level of competition was as high as I can ever remember it, that’s very impressive. He wants to win more races and score more podiums in 2023, so we’ll push as hard as we can to make that happen.”