So we’ve had Media Day and the Official BTCC Test day. So how did Media Day go?
We were relatively happy with how the day went. We were affected by the red flags and stoppages which meant that we only ran new tyres on Bobby Thompson’s car. I think Bobby’s time was very impressive. He continues to impress with his very limited experience in these cars. He’s doing an excellent job. The other three cars never got a new tyres and our old tyre performance we were extremely pleased with. So I think that we’re in pretty good shape there.
And how has the Official BTCC Test been?
Here we’ve obviously been affected by the weather. It’s been wet and dry with limited dry running. Mike Bushell was seventh fastest just a couple of tenths away and his new tyre run was when on a par when it started to rain as well. So we believe there’s another couple or three tenths in there. He’s very happy with the car and says he can see areas that he can improve on himself. So generally we’re pretty happy at the end of the day with the continual rain. We changed Jake Hill’s car to a full wet setup and he is happy with what’s underneath him as well. So yes, we’re in not bad shape the week before Brands Hatch first race of the season
Do we have a long range weather forecast yet for Brands Hatch?
No, we don’t but it will probably be ‘changeable’. We’ll go with that!
So mechanically everything is going to plan?
Yes not not many bits dropping off now. I think we’re getting the hang of it now. (Laughing) We still need a big push next week to detail the cars to the situation they need to be. But the cars are proving to be reliable.
So the drivers are all happy, you’re reasonably happy. How much work is there to do. I I think you said before they were 80% there?
We’re about 90% there now. So they’ll be shiny and ready to go next weekend.
What are your predictions or aspirations for the weekend?
It’s very difficult to answer that question. I’d like to think that we could get two cars in the top 10 in qualifying and I’d like to think we could score good points in three races. I think with Mike Bushell he’s obviously still learning the second time into Touring Cars, he is improving every time he drives it and getting more comfortable and more experience in this type of car. Jake is obviously proven with three years in the championship. He’s proven to be fast and if you give him a fast car he will drive it fast. So who knows what Jake will actually achieve in qualifying. What you only really want is it not to be any damage. All four drivers to keep out of trouble!
So the burning question is, will there be team orders.
I think all of our drivers will work together I’m pretty sure that. They get on well and work well together.
Phil (Overall) Do you have anything to add?
We’re making good steady progress with the other two cars [Geoff oversees Jake (Hill) and Mike (Bushell). Phil oversees Michael (Caine) and Bobby (Thompson)]
We’ve be ironing out a few problems. Obviously, Bobby’s car was the last one to be finished. It’s running reliably and we’re very happy with Bobby’s performance with limited experience. Today he was competitive with the more tyre runs that we did so looking good. We are getting over one or two build issues that we had but that’s what testing is all about. So we are looking in good shape good shape reliability wise for the weekend.
And were both of the drivers happy with the testing in the wet? Bobby particularly likes driving in the wet.
Obviously we’ve got to get some more data for Bobby with some dry running so he gets used to driving this car in all conditions but we’ve unfortunately had a lot of wet testing, but it is Winter.
How many more testing days are there planned throughout the year?
There is one on the 12th of April at Thruxton. And then the Summer Test at Snetterton before the summer break finishes.
Is Michael Caine happy with his car?
Yes Michael is happy. Yes he’s happy with what he’s got. We’ve taken a snapshot at a certain time of the day looking at what everyone else is doing (because when you’ve got changeable conditions you can only look at that point in time, it’s no good comparing it to what was done before). So looking at what he was doing on the track at the same time around he’s looking competitive.
Interview with Tony Gilham post Media Day, Official BTCC Test Day and prior to a busy race weekend over Easter.
This week we’ve had Media Day. How did that go?
We sure have. Media Day was very, very productive. We had a plan that we were working around. We didn’t do everything that we wanted to do on the plan. We didn’t, get the new tyre runs in that we wanted to do but we got all the answers that we wanted at Donington so that when we go to Brands we will know exactly where we’re going to be and what our targets are that we think we can achieve. We’re very happy with the car and all the drivers are very happy. The engineers and all the guys been working so hard in the build up to Media Day it was just nice to get there. All four cars complete, ready, running reliably and importantly for us, potentially very quick.
So we’re quietly confident with what we’ve built over the winter and everything that’s gone into it but it was for us a very proud day because obviously we’ve essentially built four new cars over the winter. We took on a lot. It was a big workload, it is a big ambitious project with the amount of changes that we’ve made. And that includes obviously the whole infrastructure in terms of the team, the setup, cars, the whole lot.
So we arrive in 2018 exactly where we want to be in good shape. And now we’ve just completed the Brands Hatch test we’re now in very good shape for round one which is now just a week away.
So we’ve had the official BTCC test today. How has that gone?
Again a very productive day. A little bit mixed conditions but like UK Motorsport that is something that’s going to happen more often than not. So we have run through everything again we wanted to run through today. We’ve got some very valuable data, some great feedback from the drivers and again we know what we’re working towards today. What we came here to do we’ve achieved. We can take away lots of positives and feel that we’re going to be in good shape come next weekend, which is exactly what we planned to do and hoped to do. We’ve got four cars all in one piece. All tidy, all looking (in my opinion)very good, very attractive and four happy drivers. And most importantly a very happy workforce.
Did you see who’s livery was voted the favourite in our Team on social media?
Mike Bushell – Photo by Hill Speed Images Motorsport Photography
I did see that, it may have been the blue and black car which will please Mr. Wheeler! (Brisky Racing) It is a gorgeous looking car. I mean, I love all of them for their own reasons. Yes, they’ve got their individual colours, they’ve got their individual sponsors. There’s a little bit of uniformity going across the Team. So they are essentially showing that they’re all our cars but trying to keep everybody happy is not always the easiest thing to do when it comes to multiple partners and sponsors that are on the car but we’ve tried to keep it a little bit more corporate this year. So we feel we’ve produced what is an attractive looking car. In my opinion the best looking cars on the grid. I would say that, I may be biased but I think they look stunning. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s some other very good looking cars out there but at the end of the day this is all part of the show that we’re all putting on and it’s it’s great to see people making the effort.
There’s a bit of disappointment from a few of the fans with the lack of pink.
Yes that’s been said quite a lot because the green and pink obviously runs through the Team-HARD. veins. But at the end of the day that will never go away. The pink bobble hats, all the stuff. The pink ribbons will be put on the car for next weekend, which is where the pink came from, our Breast Cancer support. I would love to see just four green and pink cars go around the track from a very sort of selfish point of view and just because that’s where it all began. But at the same time we rely on drivers and sponsors and partners and so many people that contribute to the whole ship and operation. It’s a big old operation now so we have to work with people to make sure that we produce cars that are in the corporate colours of the companies that we are working with.
So yes, in an ideal world, there will be more green and pink going on but there’s reasons why there isn’t. And it’s growing up, we’re maturing, we’re evolving and there’s lots of other things away from just the Touring Cars where you’ll see the green and pink feature quite heavily. So there’s a whole new performance range coming. There’s a whole new cleaning product range coming. And there’s a whole different area of clothing. So we’ve got #HARDwear, #HARDstyle, #HARDperformance, there’s there’s a lot of Team-HARD. themed things that will be going on aside from just Touring Cars. We compete in lots of different series now and it’s something that will never, never go away, it will stay with us and there’s lots of exciting things happening behind the scenes that will be launched imminently.
So that leads us onto the busy weekend coming up with VW Racing Cup at Silverstone and the British GT Championship at Oulton Park. Are things looking equally as positive and promising in those areas?
Yes they are. We’ve got VW this weekend, for the first time alongside TCR which will be interesting to see how that goes. We’ve got very quick drivers in the team. Obviously, we’ve got our Scholarship winner with young Ethan Hammerton making his debut with us. He’s only 17. Toby Davis is back. Mark Wakefield, Jamie Bond. So it’s a very, very strong line up. So we’ve got a very strong team going into the VW cup to defend the title that obviously Bobby Thompson won last year.
British GT is the same weekend. We make a very warm welcome back this weekend to Will Phillips. Unfortunately, Nick Worm is not available this weekend due to personal reasons but he will be filling in alongside Ben Wallace. So that’s an interesting line up in a silver, silver pairing. Obviously, Anna Walewska and Callum Hawkins-Row make up the other (Pro/Am) pairing. So decent line-ups.
The balance of performance has not been very favourable for us in the Ginettas. So we will struggle in GT. There’s only 4 Ginettas on the grid this year and it does seem to be evolving in the higher mark of car being more favorable in terms of McLaren’s and BMW, which I understand. However, the Ginetta is still a very capable car. It’s just interesting to see where we go or how we fare now the new BOP (Balance of Performance) is out with the new throttle bodies and everything so it’s interesting. I’d like to say we’re in very good shape in terms of competitiveness, but whilst we’re very prepared as a team and our drivers are great, I’m not sure that we’ve got the right BOP that will allow us to compete at the front.
So there’s some decisions to be made going forwards for 2019?
Yes, there is. I mean, we look at all sorts of options and we’ve got a decent relationship with Ginetta. We’ve got the Ginetta Supercup running alongside Touring Cars. We’ve got 8 Ginettas in total, including Britcar. So we’ve we’ve got a big commitment and sensible relationship with Ginetta, but I’m not sure how long that can stand in British GT. So the GT4 category is very,very strong and I don’t know what the best thing to do is at this stage. I feel we’ve got a competitive package but it comes down to the BOP which is issued on a round by round basis. But from I guess any mark they will always want more because as a racing driver all you want to do is win and if you feel that it’s not possible to win with the performance that you’ve been you’ve been given then is frustrating. But that’s what it is, we’re part of the championship and we have to abide by the rules and the regulations that are set. So we give it our all and hopefully it’s good enough on the day because anything can happen in motorsport as we all know. So we’ll see, we’ll play it by ear.
Good luck to all of our guys and I’ll be up and down this weekend, trying to visit everybody. So from here I’m going to try and get to Oulton and to Silverstone this weekend at some point. It’s a long weekend over Easter but I also want to support everybody.
Based at Goudhurst just 20 miles from Brands Hatch, 24 year-old BRDC ‘Rising Star’ Jake Hill completed further useful mileage at his local circuit Brands Hatch today, in the final official pre-season test on board his Trade Price Cars Brisky Racing VW CC 2018 Edition just a week before the opening round of the 2018 BTCC Series.
During the morning session, Hill instantly recorded strong times, within a few laps moving into the top-three when all the cars were on track, just 0.1 seconds away from the fastest time, this whilst all the cars were running on ‘old’ tyres.
“My engineers and me were keen to do as many laps as consistently as possible. We had a minor issue with the battery early on, but once on track the car’s balance was again really good, a few little tweaks were needed to get certain areas where they needed to be. Really pleased with the performance, and very happy with the package we go to Brands with”
After lunch torrential rain fell, many cars opting to sit out the session, Hill venturing out to get some valuable wet-weather running, but quickly realising just how risky the conditions were on track.
“We didn’t run during the wet part of the session at Media Day on Tuesday, and let’s face it there’s always a chance of rain at any BTCC race, so it was important to get some laps in. The car was really balanced, I felt really confident, but didn’t see the point in risking the car” smiled Hill.
Team HARD team-principle Tony Gilham was pleased with the pace all four drivers showed on the day.
“Bobby (Thompson) is still learning the car but has impressed mightily so far, Michael (Caine) has shown that his experience and pace is invaluable, Mike (Bushell) put himself 7th overall in the morning which is fantastic considering he is also still getting to grips with the car, and Jake has been on the pace in every session so far. Our chief engineer Geoff Kingston is really pleased with how things are moving on, so we’re all really ready for next week”
Hill’s final thoughts on what will be his third season in BTCC with Team HARD.
“I feel so at home, Tony, Gary, Jamie and the team have worked hard to move forward, we have some great partners, and I am ready to challenge for silverware. I qualified in the top-ten several times last year, so my aim is to be there regularly again, and crucially fight for podiums, Independent wins and Jack Sears Trophy points. It’s my home race so I really want to start the season strongly and see what we can do from there. It should be mega!”
Digital marketing specialists Woya Digital are thrilled to confirm a sponsorship agreement and association with Team Hard Racing for the 2018 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) season.
Team HARD. Racing has grown exponentially since Tony Gilham founded the iconic racing brand in 2012. Supporting many drivers on their racing career, the team are currently working alongside no less than 50 drivers in multiple championships. In 2018, the team is fielding four strong challengers in the UK’s premier championship, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Woya Digital is an online marketing agency supporting companies across the UK #makesomenoise through inspiring social media management, website development, e-commerce platforms and search engine marketing.
Managing Partner at Woya Digital, Steve O’Brien, said “We are massive motorsport fans and it has been fascinating to watch the growth and development of Team HARD. Racing with their unique approach and commercial attitude. “
“They have an excellent team set up and with the ‘fantastic four’ drivers lined up for this years BTCC, success is inevitable! We are simply stoked to be involved, supporting the team and reaping the rewards of motorsport sponsorship at this level. Team HARD. Racing fits perfectly with our marketing philosophy #makesomenoise.”
Team Owner, Tony Gilham added “We met with Steve at HQ and it quickly became very clear that we are the perfect fit for each other. We have everything in our armoury to allow Woya to showcase exactly what they can do and it will be very interesting to see what we can achieve together. With some very interesting plans in place for the team in 2018, this is also the perfect timing to take our online presence to a whole new level lead by Woya.”