Tony Gilham's Team HARD Racing outfit has confirmed that it has purchased one of the United Autosports NGTC Toyotas and will run Kieran Gallagher in its return season to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship this year.
The release on the TeamHARD.com website was as follows...
We are very excited to announce that we will be returning to the British Touring Car Championship this season after agreeing a deal provisionally for one Toyota Avensis.
Kieran Gallagher will be at the wheel of our first car having been with us now for the last two seasons. Kieran has been a big part of the team and has the drive and ambition to get to the very top. Having sampled BTCC at his home track of Knockhill in 2013, there was only one place he wanted to be. Provisionally a deal was in place for a Clio Cup debut, but when the opportunity came up for a full season in the BTCC, he jumped at the chance.
Kieran knows this is a big step up and will be a very steep learning curve but we believe there is more than enough potential there to be fighting for points from the very start. He has a lot of experience in various Championships including VW Cup, BTCC, Porsche Carrera Cup and Legends in just a very short racing career so far.
Kieran said “I am over the moon to be fulfilling my lifelong dream to be competing for a complete season in the BTCC. After driving the Insignia for Team Hard at Knockhill in 2013, I made it my ambition to someday race again in the series and to do it with Team Hard is awesome. As soon as Tony offered me the chance to join them for their return, I immediately said yes and literally cannot wait to get going. I know this is a big jump, but at the same time I feel I can learn very quickly and will want to get up to speed and fight as high as possible up the grid. It will be a huge learning year but I am more than up for the challenge”
We will be taking over one of the United Autosports entries for 2015 and beyond. Having confirmed our first driver, we are now looking to run a second and are in discussions with several drivers.
“This is a very exciting programme, we are going to be in this for many years. Initially we will run the Avensis but have further plans hopefully for 2016. We have seen glimpses of how quick the Toyota can be on its day and the development we have planned, we hope to see a marked improvement”
We joined the championship in 2012 in a privately run S2000 Honda Civic before taking over the Vauxhall Insignia’s, and building a very much new and improved second version culminating in a 2nd place overall in the last race of 2013 at Brands Hatch. We also built the first two VW Passat CCs introduced to the Championship 2013 securing a brace of podiums in only its 3rd race weekend at Thruxton.
“This is a totally new approach from us,” said Gilham. “We have gone back to being a family-run team and there are no outside influences this time. We are building this for the future.”
The team confirmed at the end of December that they intend to build and race at least one NGTC Volvo S60 in the 2016 BTCC season, returning the famous Swedish brand back to the UK's top domestic motorsport championship.
All the best!