Carl Boardley remains with Team HARD for 2020 in ex-WSR BMW

Carl Boardley will return to the British Touring Car Championship for a second full season in 2020 after acquiring a BMW 125i M Sport from West Surrey Racing.

Despite a switch of car, the former Ginetta racer will remain with Team HARD, with Tony Gilham’s outfit running the BMW using one of the four TOCA BTCC Licences it retained for the new camapaign.

Boardley has contested all of his BTCC races to date with Team HARD having made his debut in a one-off at Knockhill back in 2018 as a pre-cursor to a full season in the series this year.

The 43-year-old also worked with the team during his time in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup and said he delighted to continue his relationship in a car that is an established winner in the series.

“I’m over the moon to be back in the BTCC for 2020,” said Boardley. “I will admit that the 2019 season had its demons, but we used it to find our feet and understand the workings of the BTCC.

“The car has the potential to mix it at the front, so when this opportunity became available, I just had to jump at the chance. There were several options available but when WSR mentioned the availability of an established race-winning car, I couldn’t help but take an interest.

“I have a great working relationship with Tony and his Team HARD. Racing squad, so this is a fantastic fit for everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to trying the BMW 1 Series out over the coming months as we aim to hit the ground running at the Donington Park season opener.”

The addition of the BMW to the Team HARD programme will see the team running both front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars in 2020, with team boss Gilham admitting that Boardley’s experience with RWD would be key in getting up to speed with the BMW.

“We have developed a great relationship with Carl over the years he been with us and the 2019 season was a challenging one,” he said. “But there were still moments when Carl was able to demonstrate his natural ability behind the wheel.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to bring the BMW name to our team, I loved the BTCC car I drove back in 2012 and I’m glad that Carl could get a deal with WSR to get them to hand over their hugely successful 1 Series.

“We have relative inexperience with rear-wheel drive machinery in the BTCC but I firmly believe that Carl is the man to help steer us in the right direction with it. His years of experience and race engineering ability are really going to aid development and understanding.”

Gilham added that running the BMW would give Team HARD the chance to look at other options aside from the Volkswagen, which is now coming towards the end of its life in the series.

“I’m sure much of the BTCC paddock and racing enthusiasts know, that our time with our beloved Volkswagen CC’s is coming to an end due to the current regulations, which means we have a maximum of two years left with these cars,” he said. “It’s a good time to start exploring all avenues as we look for a worthy successor. With the extensive developments we’ve made to the CC’s and the addition of the BMW, this is the perfect start to the process!”