TEAM HARD PICKS VW CC FOR BTCC IN 2017
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.”