Photo: PSP Images

Ollie Pidgley replaces Dan Welch at Team HARD

Ollie Pidgley will move up to the BTCC grid this weekend at Rockingham after agreeing a deal with Team HARD for the remainder of the 2018 season.

The 20-year-old will replace Dan Welch after his one-off outing in the Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing-entered Volkswagen CC at Snetterton, having previously raced on the TOCA package in both British F4 and the Clio Cup.

“The move came about quickly, as these things often do!” he said. “I spoke to Tony (Gilham) and it’s an opportunity I just had to grasp. It’s always been a dream of mine and locking in four BTCC race weekends is an unbeatable chance for me. I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ve got everything in place and I’m ready to go.

“I sampled BTCC machinery back in 2016 when I was awarded a day’s seat-time with Ciceley Motorsport at Silverstone, having been a part of its Renault UK Clio Cup outfit that year. Purely in terms of that being front-wheel drive machinery, and a sequential box, it was a similar feel to what I’ve been used to.

“Obviously, there’s a step, in terms of performance and with the tyre but I feel physically ready. I’m going to just go about my business and see how we fare. I am not setting myself any specific targets at this moment.

“Clean races, getting seat time and bringing the car home will be our first thought. Rockingham’s a place I like and probably the circuit I know best. I’ll do my own thing and see where that takes us.”

Team boss Tony Gilham said he was pleased to welcome Pidgley onboard.

“It’s a change that’s come about very quickly but we’ve been aware of Ollie for a while,” he said. “Bobby (Thompson) and Ollie are close, and they share a similar profile – they’re both young, hungry and up-and-coming drivers that deserve a chance in Britain’s top-tier championship.

“The conversation was an easy one for us to have, and he’s in the seat for the remainder of the season.”