Former British Touring Car Championship racer Mike Epps will enter the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup for the first time this season with Team HARD. Racing.
Epps’ entry into the GT4 SuperCup will mark not only his debut in one-make Ginetta competition but also his first full foray into GT racing, though he makes the transition with a strong pedigree across single-seater and tin-top championships in recent years.
A former race-winner in the USF2000 open-wheel championship in America, the Hemel Hempstead based driver secured four victories in the Volkswagen Racing Cup in 2015 before starting a two year spell in the British Touring Car Championship with Team HARD. Racing.
Epps, who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday (12th March), impressed in the BTCC on a tight budget, securing multiple top ten results across the two seasons and impressively coming runner-up in the 2016 Jack Sears Trophy to 2017 overall champion-to-be Ash Sutton.
Epps’ best result came with a standout fifth overall in the 2017 season finale at Brands Hatch as he secured eighth in the final Independent Drivers’ standings, before a maiden campaign in the Renault UK Clio Cup last year featured a pair of podium positions.
Mike Epps: “After the winter I’ve had, I’m pleased to be starting the season and competing in such a great championship as the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup. Finding budget for this year has been harder than ever and after being let down a few weeks ago, I was close to not racing at all in 2019.
“Luckily with my help of my loyal partners, Tony Gilham and Team HARD. Racing, we’ve bounced back and I’m massively thankful to them. The team has evolved in recent years and I’m confident there is a strong package to hand here with a quick ‘Pro’ team-mate alongside me in Tom Barley.
“While this is a first move into GT competition, I’m comfortable driving in rear-wheel drive GT cars with aero through my single-seater experience. I’ve had a handful of laps in both wet and dry conditions in a Ginetta G55 GT4 and it’s a satisfying car to drive.
“At the moment we’ll be doing this race-by-race, but hopefully we’ll be able to secure the rest of the season budget with some good momentum and results. Thank you to everyone who’s made this possible and I can’t wait to get started at Brands Hatch.”
Epps, who also works as a driver coach and supports a number of drivers in the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship, joins features fellow Pro Class runner Tom Barley and Am duo Paul Taylor and Darron Lewis in Team HARD. Racing’s GT4 SuperCup entry.
Tony Gilham, managing director: “Mike enjoyed great success with us in previous years with four wins in the 2015 Volkswagen Racing Cup championship, Jack Sears runner-up in 2016 and finished the 2017 BTCC campaign as our highest place driver.
“I’m glad to have Mike back with the team, he’s a fan favourite and it would have been a great shame to not see him involved in the TOCA package this season. He’s tested the car on multiple occasions with us over the winter and is looking quick; Mike is a quick peddler in any car he gets in. I honestly believe that both himself and his ‘pro’ team-mate Tom [Barley] have a great shot at the title this season.
“The team are looking for a clean sweep in 2019 as we push for both the ‘pro’ and ‘am’ titles. It’s an exciting year for the team and Mike is at the forefront of that excitement.”
The Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup is Ginetta’s flagship championship, with a two-class structure for Professional and Amateur drivers. In 2019, the series will be contested over eight race weekends in support of the British Touring Car Championship.
It gives the team great pleasure to announce Tom Barley as our first Pro driver in the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup for 2019. Tom, who joined the team in 2013 is the latest HARD driver to be competing on the TOCA package in 2019. The 29-year-old’s pro status is more than justified having won the Britcar Endurance GT4 crown last season in the Ginetta G55.
Managing Director of Team HARD. Racing Tony Gilham is extremely proud to see Tom enter the series with the team. “Tom has been a loyal member of the driver roster since 2013. It’s fantastic to see him enter the Ginetta GT4 SuperCup as it is no less then he deserves for all this dedication, patience and speed over the last few years.
Tom has come a very long way as a driver under our roof and I have no doubt that he will be challenging towards the front from the start. He is the Britcar Endurance GT4 Champion after all alongside teammate Simon [Rudd].
IG.com have supported Tom since the beginning and I’m glad that they have utilised our business hub in a way that has enabled them to support Tom’s graduation to the SuperCup championship this season.”
Team HARD. Racing are no strangers to the championship, coming runners up in the Pro category in 2018 with BTCC graduate Carl Boardley and recently signing Am champion Michael Crees to their BTCC squad. Barley is the third driver to be announced by the team who with Paul Taylor and Darron Lewis both being unveiled earlier this month.
Tom [Barley] is delighted to be progressing up the motorsport ladder this season. “After months of hard work and nervous waits, I’m delighted to confirm my 2019 Ginetta SuperCup entry with Team Hard. Racing. Last season, myself and team mate Simon Rudd had fantastic success in GT4 endurance racing but SuperCup still felt like a big step up. I can’t thank IG.com enough for continuing their support to make this happen. Committing to Team Hard was an easy choice. The guys are dedicated, passionate and reliable. What more could I ask for?
I can’t wait to get going and will be pushing hard to reward IG.com with results and exposure to return on their investment.
I’ve been racing the Ginetta’s for a couple of years now, so I know the car well. Despite spending the last two seasons in endurance racing I’m looking to hit the ground running by combining my knowledge of the car with the championship knowledge that my Team HARD colleagues Carl [Boardley] and Micheal [Crees] hold.
It’s going to be a fantastic year.”
Tom’s graduation to Ginetta’s flagship championship highlights the ‘one stop shop’ racing structure that Team HARD. Racing possess. You can catch Tom and the team LIVE on ITV4 throughout the season. It isn’t one to be missed.
Team HARD. Racing’s presence on the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup grid expands to two cars today as we announce the signing of Darron Lewis for the 2019 championship. Darron has been with the team since 2016 having last raced in the Britcar Endurance championship last season. Darron will be working alongside the already announced Paul Taylor as they prepare for an assault on the Am championship.
It’s more the merrier for Team HARD. Racing’s Managing Director Tony Gilham. “It’s fantastic to announce our second Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup driver in a matter of days. Darron has been a driver, a friend and a business partner for a number of years now and it’s rewarding to see him enter the championship for a full season.
Darron and Paul will be ones to watch as I know they have the pedigree to really stake a claim on the Am category. Feeding off the experience of Carl [Boardley] and Michael [Crees] who ran in the series last year will be a great benefit to Darron as he adjusts back to the thrills and spills of sprint racing.”
Having run Pro runner up Carl Boardley in 2018, Team HARD. Racing are expanding their assault on the series with the announcement of both Taylor and Lewis and the team won’t be stopping there as more drivers are due to be announced imminently. Lewis is delighted to be racing with a team that has multiple drivers.
“It was a no brainer for me to continue my partnership with Tony, Sam and the team. I’m excited to be joining forces in Ginetta’s flagship championship. We will be running several cars in the championship which will enable us to compare data and therefore improve on our lap times.
I’ve got previous experience in the Ginetta’s having raced in the Britcar Endurance championship sporadically over the previous two seasons. I’m very excited to be committing to a full season in 2019. I’m only going to get quicker and quicker as we test the cars and the season progresses. I’ve worked to be part of the Toca package for a long time and I now feel the time is right.”
Darron’s entry into the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup further expands Team HARD. Racing’s presence on the Toca package for 2019. The team has now confirmed a two-car entry in the Renault UK Clio Cup, a four car entry in the Kwikfit British Touring Car Championship and now two cars in the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 SuperCup with more to follow soon. Watch this space.
We can confirm today that Paul Taylor has returned to Team HARD. Racing for 2019. Taylor, who last raced for the team in 2017 will be taking part in the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup which is a part of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) support package. The 2016 and 2017 VAG Trophy champion will be entered as an Am in the series which will be run over 8 weekends, all of which can be viewed LIVE on ITV4.
Tony Gilham, Managing Director of Team HARD. Racing is delighted to be reunited with Taylor after spending last season as rivals in the VW Racing Cup. “It’s great to have Paul (Taylor) back in the Team HARD stable for 2019. He won the VAG trophy with us back in 2016 and 2017 and we both think its time to step up to the Ginetta Supercup after sampling it at the end of 2017.
Paul has some fantastic partners who have been with him for a very long time. From a personal point of view, I’m looking forward to showing them how far Team HARD have come since they were last associated with us. Pauls return to the team is just another sign of how far we have come and the respect we have earnt in British Motorsport over the last couple of years, we are in a very good place.”
Team HARD. Racing are no strangers to the championship, coming runners up in the Pro category in 2018 with BTCC graduate Carl Boardley and recently signing Am champion Michael Crees to their BTCC squad. Taylor is hoping to feed off the knowledge these drivers have of the series as he aims for the Am honours.
“Tony and myself have been good friends for some time now and I can’t wait to be working with the team again in 2019. They did a fantastic job in helping me clinch the VAG trophy in previous years and I can see how hard they have worked to develop as a team.
One of the main reasons for me signing with Tony and the Team HARD squad for 2019 is the knowledge they have of the Millers Oils Ginetta GT4 Supercup championship. I’ve already spoken to Carl (Boardley) and Michael (Crees) on what to expect this year and I believe that this knowledge will prove invaluable as I aim to hit the ground running!
The plan is to be consistent this year, collecting as many points as possible every weekend. It worked for me in the VAG Trophy and I hope it will work again this season as I push for the championship.”
The signing of Taylor means that Team HARD. Racing will continue to have an ever-growing presence in the Toca paddock in 2019 after the news that the team will be entering the Renault UK Clio Cup in its swansong season. The team is on the rise as it looks to expand its business hub and present new opportunities for drivers of all ages to showcase their talents.
Team HARD Ginetta GT4 Supercup racer Carl Boardley will join the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill in our VW CC in place of Michael Caine.
Suffolk racer Boardley, who is currently in second place in the Ginetta championship with five wins, will step into the car for the three rounds in Fife in place of ‘Cainey’. Caine has had to step down from the championship due to family commitments.
Boardley, 42, said he had a long interest in graduating to the BTCC. He said: “This is something that has been on my radar for a while. I came close to joining in 2013, but had to change plans due to a health issue.”
“I am looking at the championship as an option for 2019, and racing in Scotland will give be a good chance to see how the circus operates, how the cars feel and what the racing is like.”
“As a new entry I will be going with the mandated 45kg of success ballast in race one, which means it will be tough, but the Team HARD cars have been running strongly recently so there is a chance to score some points in races two and three.”
The boss (Tony Gilham) said that he regretted Caine’s decision to step down but was glad to help Boardley, who has been winning races for the team in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup to step up into the BTCC.
“Michael ‘Cainey’ Caine is such a charater and he is loved by everyone who is associated with Team HARD,” said Gilham. “He has been part of our team for a long time, and will continue to be so. We have had a great journey together in the BTCC and although it’s not been as competitive as we’d both hoped, there have been flashes of speed. It’s a shame that once we got the car competitive he’s had to step down. He hasn’t had a fair crack at it.”
Gilham said that he came close to securing Boardley to run in the BTCC at the start of this year, but the driver decided to switch to the Ginetta GT4 Supercup instead.
“We virtually had a deal done – and he even tested on a couple of occasions – but the decision was taken to switch focus to Ginetta Supercup,” said Gilham. “Carl had wanted to step up to the BTCC for a long time.”
“Getting a toe-in-the-water at Knockhill will give him some experience in what is a highly competitive championship and it will all add to his knowledge ahead of a full campaign if he decides to do the BTCC in 2019. Carl set some very competative times at the Dunlop tyre test back in July and this is a great step for him to see what it is all about come race day. We expect him to be very competitive.”
The rules concerning driver changes for an entry were altered at the start of this season. Previously, a team was not allowed more than one driver change throughout the year to maintain the terms of its TOCA BTCC Licence to compete, but this was upped to two at the start of 2018.
Team HARD. Racing are very pleased to announce that another one of our young guns from 2017 Angus Dudley will return next weekend to make his debut on the TOCA package in the Michelin Ginetta Supercup.
Angus had a very successful year at the wheel of one of our Ginetta G55’s last season and made a big step forwards both on and off track. Angus developed as a racing driver and also as a part of the team with his personality and attention to detail in and out of the car. He formed a very strong partnership with close friend Callum Hawkins Row who himself has moved on to British GT this year also with Team HARD.
Angus said “Its great to be able to get back out in the Ginetta after a longer than expected winter break. I am looking forward to the challenge that has been put in front of me. The Ginetta Supercup is a seriously tough championship so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and see how we fair against some very quick and experienced competitors.”
Angus will be racing alongside Carl Boardley who himself has joined Team HARD. this year for a full championship assault. Carl had an amazing debut with the team finishing 2nd, 2nd and 1st in the three opening races at Brands Hatch earlier this month. Angus will be looking to learn as much as possible from Carl and work together to compete as high as possible up the grid.
Tony Gilham added “Ever since Angus joined the team, it has been very refreshing to work with someone so focussed on what it takes to be a modern day racing driver. I say it a lot about some of the drivers we work with but Angus is another driver from our stable that has the complete package. He listens, he learns and he applies very well which is why his rate of development has been phenomenal. Hopefully, this will lead on to more races this season with us as we look to build on what was a very successful debut in GT race cars last year.”