Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT, Jakob Ebrey, Mick Walker By Matt James

Bri­tish Tour­ing Car out­fit Team Hard will swap to run­ning VW CCS in the cham­pi­onship next sea­son.

The Kent-based op­er­a­tion ran Toy­ota Aven­sis in 2016 for Jake Hill, Michael Epps and a third ma­chine shared be­tween Chris Smi­ley, team prin­ci­pal Tony Gil­ham and Michael Caine.

Now it has bought the ex-team BMR and Team BKR ma­chines, which were orig­i­nally built by Gil­ham’s team and raced in 2013. Tom Onslow-cole took podi­ums for Team Hard in the VW at Thrux­ton and Croft .

Team BKR fielded two VW CCS in this year’s con­test, al­though they were fit­ted with the older-spec GPRMbuilt con­trol parts. Aron Smith won a round at Rock­ing­ham in late Au­gust.

The cars will have to be up­graded for 2017 as the older parts have now been out­lawed by tech­ni­cal chiefs.

Gil­ham said: “Bring­ing the VWS to the BTCC was our brain­child, so it feels like we have some un­fin­ished busi­ness with these cars.

“It was a good car out of the box then and was still win­ning races last sea­son with the older kit on­board.

“Now we plan to up­date all three VWS to the Rml-spec over the win­ter and be­lieve we’ll have a re­ally strong pack­age for 2017.”

Gil­ham said he was keen to build on the progress that Team Hard made this term. Hill was par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive, end­ing the year 17th in the points with six top 10 fin­ishes.

“We’re com­ing off the back of a solid year with older cars, but now we feel we’re ready to step up and be­come ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive,” added Gil­ham.

“We’ve as­sessed a num­ber of op­tions but gen­uinely be­lieve this to be the right pack­age, par­tic­u­larly with the cars be­ing up­graded and im­proved. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t be­lieve they’ll be race win­ning ma­chines in our hands.”

Gil­ham said that the team has al­ready signed one driver and is in talks with driv­ers re­gard­ing the other two seats.

“It’s great for us to have se­cured this deal so early in the off-sea­son as it gives us the time re­quired to pre­pare prop­erly for 2017.”

Team Hard ran the VWS back in 2013 Gil­ham: 2017 plans

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