Will Burns will make the next step in his blossoming racing career next season after signing a deal to graduate into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with front-running outfit Team HARD.
The 2016 Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup vice-champion will compete in one of the team’s newly acquired trio of Volkswagen CC’s, an established, multiple race-winning car in the championship over the last few years.
Burns makes the step up to the BTCC after five successful seasons in one-make Ginetta competition, being crowned the vice-champion in the GT5 Challenge in 2013, before repeating the feat in the Supercup this season.
The Weston-Super-Mare racer took the championship fight down to the final race of the year courtesy of seventeen podium finishes including three race wins, before going on to test BTCC machinery for the first time last month at Snetterton.
Burns made a positive first impression behind the wheel of the Toyota Avensis campaigned by Mike Epps in this year’s championship, producing encouraging lap-times in variable weather conditions across the day.
The 26 year old is Team HARD’s first confirmed driver for the 2017 BTCC season, with the move coming thanks to continued support from Cases Ltd, Eurocams, MH Automation and Absolute Plastering Services.
Will Burns: “I am absolutely delighted to be stepping up to the British Touring Car Championship. I’ve watched the championship since I was a child, and when I started racing back in 2011 I could have never imagined I’d be on the grid.
“I’m under no illusions as to the size of the challenge ahead, the BTCC is the pinnacle of British motorsport and it’s going to be a steep learning curve for me, but I really can’t wait to get the season started at Brands Hatch in April.
“I’m excited to be part of Team HARD’s exciting plans for the 2017 season. I really enjoyed my first test with them last month, they are a really talented, professional team and it’s going to be great to work with them next season.
“The Volkswagen CC is a proven race-winning car in the series and I’m confident that we will have a very competitive package heading into next season. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the new car as soon as possible.
“Thank you to all my sponsors for their continued support, to Tony Gilham and Team HARD for the opportunity, and also to Douglas Motorsport and Ginetta for giving me the platform to show what I could do this year, which helped me get to this exciting next stage of my career.”
The BTCC is the highest profile motor racing series in the United Kingdom, drawing in trackside crowds of on average over 37,000 each meeting, as well as over twenty million television viewers across the season through the live, free-to-air coverage on ITV4.
A staple of the British racing scene for nearly sixty years, the BTCC is enjoying a golden period at present, with Burns set to race against the best saloon car talents in the country as part of an expected capacity 32 car grid next season.
Tony Gilham (Team Principal): “We have been talking to Will and his family for a few months now and have already formed a great relationship. We share the same drive and ambition as well as Will being an amazing up and coming talent. We are genuinely excited about 2017 for a number of reasons and that includes the potential that Will has shown in the last few years as well as in his first ever taste of front wheel drive machinery at the recent Snetterton test.
We have known the capabilities of the Passat CC for a few years now having originally introduced them to the grid in 2013 and seeing its progress and success over the years proving it as a race winning car. We are very confident that we have a very competitive package for the year ahead and look forward to working with Will on and off track to continue his development and rise to the very top. ”