Team HARD in Volkswagen return for 2017

Team HARD has announced that it will run three Volkswagen CCs in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Tony Gilham’s team, which gave the CC its debut in the series back in 2013, has acquired three of the cars that have since been run by both Team BMR and Team BKR in recent seasons – winning races in the hands of the likes of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Aron Smith.

All three cars will be updated to run RML-spec parts over the winter and replace the Toyota Avensis used this year.

“Bringing the VWs to the BTCC was our brainchild back in 2011, so it feels like we have some unfinished business with them,” he said. “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.

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

“A number of our staff were also part of the original build project so of course there is a strong bond too. We looked at many options, however, and made this call because we believe they’ll be race-winning machines in our hands. To potentially build and develop new cars at the same time as carrying out the RML upgrades would have been a massive task.”

Gilham confirmed that the team has already inked a deal with one driver with talks ongoing about the remaining two seats.

Jake Hill and Michael Epps are both believed to be in the running to remain for a second season, with Michael Caine – who enjoyed a short stint behind the wheel before being ruled out by a back injury this season – also having expressed a desire to try and compete in a full season.

Ginetta Supercup front-runner Will Burns meanwhile tested with the team earlier this month at Snetterton in one of the Toyotas.

“We’ve already signed one driver, which will be announced in due course, and we’re speaking to further interested parties over the coming weeks in relation to the two vacant seats,” Gilham continued. “It’s great for Team HARD to have secured this deal so early in the winter as it gives us the time required to prepare properly for what I’m sure will be another exciting and successful season ahead for us.”