We would just like to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As always at work, play and especially in Motorsport, it has been a year of ups and downs, but all goes together to build what is the story of life. We have had some amazing times and some tough times, but we end the year in a place we could have only dreamed of just a few months ago.
We are honoured to have so many great people involved with us and a family network that knows no boundaries, we are very proud to work with you all.
As we reflect on what has really been an enjoyable, emotional, successful and disappointing year, it all goes together to create what is a very special and unique family team, Team HARD. Racing.
We are very much looking forward to making some more memories with you all in 2019 but until then enjoy some family time and hopefully you all celebrate New Year’s in style. It’s over and out from us.
Tony & Sam Gilham X
Team HARD. Racing are delighted to announce that VW Racing Cup ace Mark Wakefield will continue to drive for the team in 2019.
Mark had a fantastic debut season with the team, picking up three pole positions and two race victories en route to ninth in the championship. If it wasn’t for a few issues with the car in the first half of the season he would have been in contention for the championship without a doubt.
Mark values consistency and is looking to push on in 2019. ‘Racing for Team HARD in the 2019 VW Racing Cup seemed like the right option for me, 2018 was a year of learning the car, we had a year of up and downs but towards the end of the season I started to show what I could really do! We left Donnington GP in September as a race winner and I’m hoping to keep that up going into the first round of 2019 at my home circuit Oulton Park.’
With a season under his belt Mark is planning on being in full attack mode in 2019 as he looks to challenge and win the series. ‘My 2019 aim is of course to win the Championship, from racing last year in the Championship I’m feeling confident in being a contender for the championship which is always a good thing to start off with.’
I’d like to thank Tony Gilham for the opportunity of driving for the team for another year and I can’t wait to get back out in the car after Christmas!’
Wakefield from Weaverham, Cheshire put in a string of positive finishes in the final third of the season including a stunning victory at Croft in August which saw him pull off the move of the season. This is something that impressed team boss Tony Gilham who has been impressed with Mark’s development over the course of 2018.
‘Mark is a fantastic driver to have in the team, he is a family man which fits perfectly with our team culture. I’ve been very impressed with Mark’s development in 2018 and he was the quickest driver on the grid come the end of the season with two victories in the final three races of the championship.
It’s not only his one race pace that has impressed. His race craft has been impeccable which was highlighted with his double overtake on Jamie Bond and Darren Lewis at Croft. It was one of the best overtakes I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a shame that we had some teething problems with the car in the first half of the season because without the issues, Mark would have been a strong contender for the title in his first season with us in the VW Racing Cup.”
I have full faith that Mark will be at the front of the pack from the first round in 2019, he has a real shot at the title and it’s down to us to provide him with a package which allows him to deliver.’
Team HARD. Racing move into 2019 as back to back champions of the series after Bobby Thompson and Jamie Bond won the championship with the team in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Mark is the second driver to be confirmed with the team for 2019 after it was announced in November that Howard Fuller would be returning to the series with Team HARD.
You can see how Mark gets on in his pursuit for the 2019 crown by watching the VW Racing Cup LIVE on Facebook throughout the season with round 1 taking place April 22nd. Make sure you pencil in the date, Mark means business.
It was championship delight for Team HARD. Racing’s #24 Ginetta of Tom Barley and Simon Rudd in 2018 as they took the GT4 class honours in this seasons Britcar Endurance series. Consistency was the key to the pairs success as they finished on the podium in all 14 rounds of the championship, which was no mean feat with the large array of competition that was present in this season’s championship.
Peter Farrow, who heads up the teams GT program applauded the whole team performance over the season.
“It’s been a fantastic year for our GT team and to end the season with 3 podiums, a pole position, a fastest lap and winning the GT4 class we have really shown what amazing team work can do. Having worked with Simon and Tom for several years now we were able to work in cohesion to help give them the best package possible. In doing so they duly delivered.
Huge congratulations to Simon and Tom for their outstanding season, securing a class podium every race weekend is a record to be proud of.
Finally, thank you and well done to my amazing team, from the mechanics to the hospitality crew. Everyone has worked incredibly hard this year and we have had a year to remember, giving us motivation to come back even stronger in 2019!”
Having been in a tight tussle with the Track Focused KTM over the course of the season Simon Rudd believes that partnering again with 2017 team mate Tom Barley was a key to the championship going their way.
“It’s been a great year for us. We were on the podium for every race and won the most competitive class. The team have been faultless all season and I can’t thank them enough.
It’s been amazing to partner up with Tom again. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and used that to bring together the best package, it’s been so much fun.
As ever, a huge thanks to Team HARD. Racing, all my sponsors (Elsfab, Jackson Lift Group, VTS, Momentum Consultancy, DJMotorsport and Lester Controls) and my friends and family for sticking with us during 2018, at times it’s been a bumpy ride, but we have pulled through!”
Team-mate Tom Barley echoed the words of team-mate Simon highlighting just how in-sync the pair have been in 2018.
“14 races, 14 podiums. That’s the best way to sum up 2018! What a phenomenal season Simon and I have had. Team HARD. racing have put a flawless car in front of us every weekend, which made winning as easy as possible, we really had no excuses this season!
It’s been my most enjoyable and successful season to date. Here comes 2019! Thank you to IG.com and Engine Carbon Clean, without them this season couldn’t have happened.”
With the season now over, it was a fitting end to a successful season both on and off the track for the team. Motivation is high as the team look forward to a number of 2019 championship campaigns.
Michael Crees will realise a lifelong dream next season as he lines up on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid after signing a deal with leading squad Team HARD for his debut campaign in the biggest race series in the UK.
Less than three years since the Kent racer was standing on the banks as a fan watching the BTCC in action, Crees is now seizing the chance to take on some of the best touring car drivers and teams in the world in only his third season of motorsport competition.
With the support of his loyal sponsors, Crees has signed with experienced outfit Team HARD to race one of their Volkswagen CC’s, an established race-winning car in the series that he tested for the first time earlier this month at Snetterton in Norfolk.
The move continues Crees’ meteoric rise up the motorsport ladder, having won the Ginetta Racing Drivers’ Club title in his maiden car-racing campaign in 2017, before announcing himself to the BTCC paddock with a sensational display in the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup last year.
In a series that has produced leading BTCC stars like Tom Ingram and Adam Morgan, the Broadstairs-based driver dominated the AM Class with a remarkable record of eleven race victories and eight other podium finishes across the twenty-three race campaign.
Crees highlighted his tremendous raw speed and exciting racecraft throughout the season, as well as an infectious personality that made him a popular figure throughout the paddock, with the media and crucially with the passionate BTCC fanbase.
Michael Crees: “My dream has become a reality! It has been a very difficult decision with what to do next year as I have so little experience in racing, but after winning two titles in two years of racing, we wanted to challenge ourselves in the hardest series in the UK.
“I want to thank Tony Gilham for taking a chance on us. Having spent the last couple of weeks working with and getting to know the team, how they work and our plans, it became clear this would be the right decision for the next chapter in my racing career.
“We share a lot of the same values and goals for the future so I’m very much looking forward to working with the team to see what we can achieve together. I can’t wait to get out this week and start a long, tough journey to becoming a successful BTCC driver.”
Crees is Team HARD’s fourth and final signing for the 2019 BTCC season, partnering with two-time Renault UK Clio Cup champion and BTCC top six finisher Mike Bushell, 2017 Volkswagen Racing Cup champion Bobby Thompson and fellow Ginetta GT4 Supercup graduate Carl Boardley.
The 35 year old competed with the team for the first time this past weekend at Brands Hatch, enjoying a successful debut in the Britcar Endurance Championship as he finished second in class and third overall alongside Sam Randon in an ex-BTCC Toyota Avensis.
Tony Gilham – Team HARD Boss: “We are very proud to welcome Michael to what we call our family. Michael is very much like us in the way he approaches his racing with his family support around him and his mindset to do the best job possible on track but to enjoy it off track too.
“That makes him a perfect fit to our set up and we have already seen the value that we can offer each other as a package. He is a very special talent and has had a meteoric rise to the top and we cannot wait to share the next chapter of our stories together.
“In what will be a huge year for the team, it will also be a very steep learning curve for Michael as he steps up to what is the pinnacle of British motorsport. That said we have all been very impressed with Michael on the recent test days.
“We’ll be working hard over the winter to ensure we’re as ready as we can be for the season ahead. There have been several changes to the team structure and personnel, and we are hoping to achieve great things together as this is a long term programme for us all.”
The BTCC celebrated its landmark 60th anniversary season in 2018 and showcased its status as one of the most exciting and competitive championships in the world, with no less than seventeen different race-winners across the thirty race campaign.
The highest profile motor-racing series in the UK, the BTCC attracts trackside crowds of on average over 37,000 per meeting across the country, has live terrestrial television coverage of every race on ITV4, and enjoys extensive media coverage and a large social media presence.
Article written by – Next Level Motorsport
Team HARD are pulling out all the stops on Saturday 8th December by laying on one of the biggest hot laps experience days of the year.
Come down to Brands Hatch on Saturday 8th December to have a ride in our Volkswagen Golf and Ginetta GT4 Supercup car courtesy of our 2018 drivers. However, our current BTCC star Mike Bushell will also be in attendance and behind the wheel of the teams NGTC Toyota Avensis to give you the thrill of a lifetime.
Come down to meet Mike and the team before the main man himself takes you out for a thrill that you will never forget. Mike will be pounding around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a touring car driver.
Help yourself to refreshments which include tea, coffee, soft drinks and a selection of snacks whilst you wait for your turn in one of our fully race prepared machines. We will also be capturing your BTCC experience on video and sending it to you after the event, so you can show all of your friends and family your poker face… if you can hold it.
This is an experience that you cannot get anywhere else and this is the only event of the year that has been held on a weekend!
A Christmas special for all motorsport enthusiasts.
The team are offering a selection of packages for the day which suits all budgets. Click the link below and see you on the 8th December.
Radical racer Harper-Ellam in for Britcar finale
Ryan Harper-Ellam joins Team Hard in their Britcar campaign at the season finale this weekend at Brands Hatch. The current Radical racer joins the championship for its showpiece event, it’s ‘into the night race’. On both Saturday and Sunday, the Britcar championship will race from dusk and into the night in a 50-minute race on Saturday and a 2 hour race on Sunday offering a unique challenge for spectators, drivers and teams alike.
The GT manager at Team HARD, Peter Farrow, is looking forward to the weekend. “As a team manager I relish unique weekends such as this. We’ve got creative with the cars by adding glow in the dark stickers and extra lights to put on a show for the fans in attendance this weekend. I’m also delighted to have Ryan onboard, especially after seeing his domination on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit last weekend. We honestly believe he can help our title charge despite lack of seat time in the #285 Ginetta G55.”
Ryan is hoping to continue where he left off last weekend at Brands Hatch “I’m really excited for the opportunity to race with Team Hard in the Britcar finale this weekend. It’ll be my first race in a GT car so I’m looking forward to seeing how I get on. Obviously, the aim is to be at the front but mainly it will be a huge learning experience. Having taken two wins, two pole positions and 2 fastest laps at Brands Indy last weekend in the Radical I hope to continue my good form this weekend!”
With the title still all to play for, come down to Brands Hatch this Saturday and Sunday to witness a rare motorsport spectacle in the UK, night racing.