Andy Priaulx is a British racing driver whose biggest successes are four consecutive major touring car championship titles. In 2004, he won the European Touring Car Championship and after ETCC was transformed to WTCC, Andy won three world titles from 2005 to 2007. For most of the career he was BMW factory driver but in 2016, he joined the Ford to compete in endurance races and at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Young Andy tried various motorsports activities
Andy Priaulx was born on August 8th, 1974, on the island of Guernsey. He started competing in karting races at the age of 8. During his teenage years, he tried a few sorts of motorsports, such was powerboat racing, motocross or hill climb car racing. In 1990, he was the 250cc motocross champion of Channel Islands.
Next couple of titles he won came in the form of 'Hill climb champion of Channel Islands' in 1991, and then again in 1992. His last season in the hill climb racing was 1995, and he won the British championship with incredible 10 wins out of 10 races.
Dominant performance in the 1999 Renault Spider championship
A switch to circuit racing, and joining Startline Racing as a part-season driver in the 1996 Formula Renault UK championship was his next move. He participated in the 1997 Formula 3 British championship and stepped up to Formula Palmer Audi and Renault Spider championship in 1998.
After three years of mediocre results, Andy finally shined in the 1999 Renault Spider championship, winning the title with 13 wins in 13 races. He was driving for Mardi Gras Motorsport.
Winless seasons in the Formula 3
Although he had test drives with several BTCC cars (Renault, Vauxhall and Ford), Andy remained in the single-seaters for two more seasons. In 2000, he finished ninth in the British Formula 3 championship with Promatecme.
A year later, he finished sixth driving for Alan Docking Racing. His best result was pole position and 2nd place at the non-championship Formula 3 Korean Super Prix.
BTCC debut with pole position
During 2001, Andy recorded participation as a guest driver in the World Series by Nissan and debuted in the British Touring Car Championship. And it was a debut to remember. He replaced a suspended Phil Bennett in the Egg Sport Vauxhall team, driving the Astra Coupe, and surprised all by winning the pole position at Oulton Park.
The winners of two races were the Vauxhall factory drivers Jason Plato and Yvan Muller, while Andy finished second in the first race and retired in the second race. With such an impressive debut it was clear that Andy's future would be the touring car racing.
First full touring car season in 2002
For the season 2002, Andy signed for Honda factory team and he competed with Honda Civic Type R in his first full-season of the British Touring Car Championship. He won one race at Knockhill and with three more podiums he finished fifth in the championship.
During the year he travelled to Australia, to compete along Yvan Muller in two races of the V8 Supercar Championship Series, driving the K-Mart Racing's Holden VX Commodore. They retired at both races - Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000.
Priaulx joined BMW in 2003
In 2003, Andy's cooperation with BMW started. He signed for the Bart Mampaey's BMW UK team and entered the European Touring Car Championship with BMW 320i. He won three races (at Brno, Spa and Oschersleben) to finish third in the classification, behind Gabriele Tarquini and Jörg Müller.
Priaulx repeated the trip to Australia in 2003, this time, he was slightly successful and finished 12th at the Sandown 500, partnering Cameron McLean in the K-Mart's Holden. At Bathurst 1000 they retired after only 33 laps.
Five wins and ETCC title in 2004
In 2004, Andy Priaulx won his first international title. His BMW 320i was the victorious five times in the ETCC races. He won at Magny-Cours, Hockenheim, Brno, Donington Park and Oschersleben. Priaulx won the championship with the same number of points like Dirk Müller, but Priaulx was declared the champion because of five wins against Müller's three wins.
In 2005, the European Touring Car Championship was renamed to 'World Touring Car Championship', with two non-European races added to the calendar. Andy won his first world title with just one victory (at Oschersleben), but he scored ten more podiums and again triumphed ahead of Dirk Müller.
Priaulx as Williams F1 car tester
Priaulx was once more successful in Germany, this time by winning the 2005 edition of the famous 24 Hours of Nürburgring race. He was sharing the BMW M3 GTR with Pedro Lamy, Boris Said and Duncan Huisman. That same year, Priaulx has also participated in the official test of the BMW Williams F1 car, but it remained his only contact with the premium motorsport series.
One more narrow title win in 2006
In 2006, BMW Team UK and Andy Priaulx were again dominant in the WTCC, and Guernseyman won the title with five wins in twenty races. He was the winner at Monza, Magny-Cours, Oschersleben, Curitiba and Macau. He reached the decisive title points in the last race at Macau and won the title with just one point ahead of Jörg Müller.
MBE title for the best touring car driver in the world
The fourth title in a row came in 2007, again with BMW Team UK. Andy won three races with BMW 320is, at Boavista, Brands Hatch and Macau, and this was good enough to win the title ahead of Yvan Muller. It's interesting that Priaulx won all his touring car titles against three different Mullers. After four consecutive titles, Andy was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for the services in motorsport.
Priaulx competed with BMW for three more seasons in the World Touring Car Championship and somehow, he managed to finish fourth overall in each of these seasons. In 2008, he scored one win (at Circuit de Pau Ville) and nine podiums. In 2009, Priaulx won at Oschersleben and Okayama.
Controversial end of the 2010 season
The 2010 season ended with a controversy after BMWs of Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx got excluded from the results of the penultimate race of the season in Okayama, Japan. The race stewards allowed them to run the cars with sequential gearboxes but the FIA later overturned the decision and excluded them. Until then, Priaulx was victorious six times, and he was one of the main title contenders, but it never happened.
Busy racing schedule in America and Australia
During 2009 and 2010 Priaulx had a busy schedule outside of WTCC. In 2009, he was a guest of the BMW RLL Team in the American Le Mans Series, he finished third in the GT4 class at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and participated in three races of V8 Supercars Championship. He was driving Holden VE Commodore for Walkinshaw Racing, finishing 12th at the Bathurst 1000, with David Reynolds as a co-driver.
An average 24h Le Mans debut
In 2010, he had more diverse schedule beside WTCC, competing in the Le Mans Series, American Le Mans Series, 24-hour races and V8 Supercar Championship. At Nürburgring, he finished 2nd with BMW M3 GTR in the E1-XP2 class. He debuted at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, sharing the GT2 class BMW M3 with Dirk Werner and Dirk Müller, but they retired after 52 laps.
Priaulx achieved his best result on the Australian ground, finishing second in the Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise Circuit. He was sharing the Triple Eight's Holden with Craig Lowndes.
Preparing for BMW's DTM come back
At the end of 2010, Andy left WTCC and became the BMW test driver for DTM team, which was preparing the BMW's come back to DTM after 20 years of absence. Andy was sharing the duty with his participations in the sportscar races.
He won the 12 Hours of Sebring with BMW M3 GT2 and after five races finished second in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Series. At 24 Hours of Le Mans Priaulx was sharing the car with Joey Hand and Dirk Müller, they finished 15th overall and 3rd in the GT2 class.
Of course, Australia was again on the Andy's schedule. He again joined Craig Lowndes at Gold Coast 600, retired in the first race and finished 20th in the second race.
Mediocre results in two DTM seasons
In 2012, it was time to move on from DTM. Priaulx drove for Team RBM and after ten races without wins and podiums, he finished 13th in the championship standings. His best result was sixth place at the season-opening race at Hockenheim. Although Andy wasn't so successful, BMW won the Manufacturer's title ahead of Audi and Mercedes.
In 2013, Priaulx was even more down in the DTM final standings, finishing 20th in the championship. His best result was a sixth place at Hockenheim, this time on the season-closing race.
Priaulx and Ekstrom together at Bathurst 1000
At 2013 Bathurst 1000 race, Priaulx was sharing the cockpit of the Triple Eight's Holden with fellow DTM rival, Mattias Ekstrom and they finished the race at the 10th place.
In 2014, Priaulx switched his focus to the IMSA United Sportscar Championship. He was competing with BMW Team RLL's Z4 GTE. After eleven races and three podiums Priaulx finished 8th in the GTLM class standings.
Return to the British Touring Car Championship
One more change followed in 2015. Priaulx had duties as a driver in the British Touring Car Championship, European Le Mans Series and IMSA Sportscar Championship. He returned to the BTCC taking the seat in the West Surrey Racing's BMW 125i M Sport, backed by IHG Rewards Club. The#111 BMW was victorious in two races, at Croft and Silverstone. Andy finished 8th in the championship.
He was closer to the top in the European Le Mans Series, in which he drove Team Marc VDS's BMW Z4. He scored one win (at Estoril) in five races and finished 2nd in the GTE class. The BMW Z4 was his car in three races of the IMSA Sportscar Championship, this time for the Turner Motorsport team.
The highlight of the 2015 season was the victory at the Race of Champions in London. Together with Jason Plato, Priaulx won the Nations Cup.
New career with Ford in the FIA WEC
After 13 seasons with BMW, Priaulx wanted something more and he found it in Ford's endurance programme. The American manufacturer is returning to the world endurance racing scene with brand-new Ford GT, and Priaulx was picked as one of the drivers for the FIA WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans.