Ginetta champion Michael Crees completes Team HARD line-up

Michael Crees will make the move into the BTCC for the 2019 season after being confirmed as the fourth and final driver with Team HARD.

Less than three years after making a move into motorsport in the Ginetta Racing Drivers’ Club, Crees – who won the Am Class in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup in 2018 – will now graduate to the BTCC having tested the team’s Volkswagen CC in recent weeks.

The 35-year-old also competed with the team for the first time this past weekend at Brands Hatch, taking third overall in a Britcar event alongside Sam Randon in an ex-BTCC Toyota Avensis.

Crees becomes the second driver from the Supercup to sign with Team HARD for 2019, with championship front-runner Carl Boardley having already been confirmed in a seat alongside returning pair Mike Bushell and Bobby Thompson.

“My dream has become a reality!” Crees said. “It has been a very difficult decision with what to do next year as I have so little experience in racing, but after winning two titles in two years of racing, we wanted to challenge ourselves in the hardest series in the UK.

“I want to thank Tony Gilham for taking a chance on us. Having spent the last couple of weeks working with and getting to know the team, how they work and our plans, it became clear this would be the right decision for the next chapter in my racing career.

“We share a lot of the same values and goals for the future so I’m very much looking forward to working with the team to see what we can achieve together. I can’t wait to get out this week and start a long, tough journey to becoming a successful BTCC driver.”

Team HARD boss Tony Gilham said he was pleased to give Crees his chance on the BTCC grid.

“We are very proud to welcome Michael to what we call our family,” he said. “Michael is very much like us in the way he approaches his racing with his family support around him and his mindset to do the best job possible on track but to enjoy it off track too.

“That makes him a perfect fit to our set up and we have already seen the value that we can offer each other as a package. He is a very special talent and has had a meteoric rise to the top and we cannot wait to share the next chapter of our stories together.

“In what will be a huge year for the team, it will also be a very steep learning curve for Michael as he steps up to what is the pinnacle of British motorsport. That said we have all been very impressed with Michael on the recent test days.

“We’ll be working hard over the winter to ensure we’re as ready as we can be for the season ahead. There have been several changes to the team structure and personnel, and we are hoping to achieve great things together as this is a long term programme for us all.”