Rob Collard

BTCC driver


Name = Rob Collard
Nationality = flagicon|ENG
Car number = 25
Team = Motorbase Performance
Car = BMW 320si
Championships = 0
Wins = 2
Podiums = 8
Poles = 0
Fastest laps = 4
First year = 2000
First win = 2005
Best position = 7th in 2005
Last season = 2008
Last position = 12th (84 points)

Robert Collard (born October 1, 1968) is an auto racing driver from Hampshire, best known for racing in the British Touring Car Championship, winning two races in a West Surrey Racing MG, and claiming the Independent's Cup title in 2003. For 2008 he has returned to running the series full-time, leading the Motorbase Performance team.

For many years he raced hot rods, only switching to circuit racing in his late 20s. He raced Formula Ford for 3 years, winning the 1998 Formula Ford Festival. However, as most drives in Formula 3 and higher went to younger drivers, he turned his attention to saloon based racing, coming 3rd in the Vauxhall SRi V6 championship.

In 2000 the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) launched Class B, featuring lower-powered but cheaper cars, to fill its relatively thin grid. Rob took up this opportunity, and finished 4th overall in his class. He only raced a partial season in the renamed Production Class in 2001, concentrating on preparing a Renault Clio for a full assault on the Production Class in 2002 with his own Collard Racing team.

The season was a disaster however. Engine reliability and lasting performance was low, and a victory and a 2nd in the opening meeting proved to be a false dawn, as the small team struggled to get working machinery to the races, [ [http://www.collardracing.co.uk/news/020730out.php "Collard Racing retires from 2002 BTCC"] ] and he was outside the championship top 10. [ [http://www.btcc-racing.com/results/2002/2002prod.asp BTCC-Racing.com | Results | 2002 Production Class Championship ] ] He also contested 6 ETCC races in a Nissan Primera for RJN Motorsport that year.

Undeterred, Rob redoubled his efforts for 2003, moving up to the main Touring Class with a Vauxhall Astra. [ [http://www.collardracing.co.uk/news/030226astra.php "Collard acquires Astra for 2003 BTCC"] ] He beat several better-funded teams and drivers to win the Independent's Cup, and finished 10th overall ahead of several 'works' drivers. [ [http://www.btcc-racing.com/results/2003/2003drivers.asp BTCC-Racing.com | Results | 2003 Drivers Championship ] ] For 2004 there were less works teams, with MG pulling out and Honda scaling down to only one car. As a result more competitive cars had independent status. Collard Racing had no realistic hope of matching Anthony Reid's independent MG or Matt Neal's Honda, and finished 6th in the Indy cup and 12th overall.

In 2005 Rob replaced Reid in West Surrey Racing's MG, concentrating purely on racing rather than team ownership. This was his most competitive season to date, with 2 outright wins and 7th place overall. For 2006 he was joined in the team by Colin Turkington under WSR's new guise "Team RAC". This time he finished 9th overall with a single podium.

Collard's heavy handed tactics often come under criticism from fellow drivers and teams, as well as numerous fans of the series. It is believed that Rob's racing licence amassed 9 points in the 2006 season, just three short of a ban from racing. Fellow drivers have often spoken out about his lack of driving standards, one going as far as to describe him as a "rock-ape" at a 2006 meeting.

In 2007 Collard had no BTCC drive, instead contesting the early rounds of the Porsche Carrera Cup UK, achieving little success in these big difficult-to-control rear-wheel-drive cars. He contested the final round of the BTCC for GR Asia, and returned full-time in 2008 in a Motorbase BMW. At Croft he scored their best-ever result in 4th, after he and team-mate Steven Kane ran 3rd and 4th for a while. The team had worked on damper settings before the meeting.

Personal

Rob's family starred in an episode of Channel 4's Wife Swap, shown during October 2006. He has told ITV's BTCC coverage that his hero is Colin McRae, and his ambition is to win the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

References

External links

* [http://www.collardracing.co.uk Official Website]
* [http://www.teamrac.co.uk Team RAC - Rob's team for 2006]
* [http://www.btcc-racing.com/drivers/collard.asp BTCC-Racing profile]


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