Howard Fuller will make a full time return to racing in 2019 and has set his sights firmly on the VW Racing Cup title with Team HARD. Racing after agreeing a deal to head up a two car GKR Scaffolding backed entry. GKR have been very active in their partnership with the team and following last year’s very successful scholarship programme, have decided to continue their involvement with their #BetterFuture racing programme.
Howard will be entering his 8th year of involvement with the team and will return to the VW Racing Cup Championship where he was a race winner on his debut back in 2012 at Rockingham. It was the same year (2012) that Howard made his BTCC debut with Team HARD. behind the wheel of a Honda Civic Type R at Silverstone.
Tony Gilham said, “Howard has been an integral part of the team for a number of years now and even when he wasn’t racing with us, we have remained in close contact and tried many times to get him back on track. Our journey together began back in 2012 and lead to his BTCC debut. Being totally honest with myself, whilst Howard was ready as a driver, we weren’t ready as a team at the top level at that point. Howard is an amazing talent and up until now there has always been something lacking with us as a team which hasn’t allowed us to extract everything from his potential. However, 2019 will finally see what we can achieve together where we are both more than prepared at the same time.”
Howard added, “Team HARD. has always felt like home and it’s great to be back with a full championship package confirmed so early on. Normally we are well in to the new year and still looking at options as to what we might be able to race for the year ahead. It was great to sample the TCR Championship last year but think that this is the right direction to go at this stage in my career. It is very important to get a full season of racing under my belt again before we look at moving up the ladder once again with aspirations of TCR or BTCC. I’d like to thank Tony and my sponsors for keeping the faith in me and allowing us to come back and push for the title. I will do everything I can to make it 3 out of 3 fo
r the team in 19 after winning the championship in 17 and 18.”
Tony went on to say, “Whilst we believe Howard has the potential to go to the very top, we all know that it is very important to build a career on solid foundations. So, the decision was made to hit the reset button and essentially relaunch Howard as we look to take him back up the racing ladder. Howard brings a wealth of experience and will be a great ambassador for us both on and off track so we are very much looking forward to what we can achieve over the next few seasons. With the
continued support of GKR we have been able to put together an extensive package which will give us everything we need to challenge for honours from the start of the new season”
A DREAM will come true for one of the UK’s most promising young motor racing talents when he makes his debut in a world famous championship later this month.
Ethan Hammerton, 17, will be the youngest current driver in the illustrious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) when he competes in the championship’s last two rounds at the legendary Silverstone and Brands Hatch circuits.
Ethan will replace fellow Team Hard racer Michael Caine, 49, a former British GT Championship winner who has been racing in the BTCC since 2011.
Last year the Northallerton teenager beat off stiff competition from almost 100 other drivers to win the Team Hard GKR Scaffolding Scholarship and has since been racing in the prestigious VW Cup Championship, which is seen as a proven training ground for drivers with professional ambitions.
The move up to the BTCC has come far earlier than expected and is recognition of a rare talent.
“I have been watching British Touring Cars at Croft with my mum, dad and brother since I was a young boy and I can’t believe I am now going to be actually racing in the championship,” said Ethan.
“I switched from racing karts to racing cars in the Junior Saloon Car Championship when I was 15, in 2015, and it was my goal then to race in the BTCC and I’ve achieved that ambition – it’s a dream come true,” he added
Ethan will line-up on the BTCC’s Silverstone grid over the weekend of September 15 and 16, and will then compete in the season finale at Brands Hatch over the last weekend of September.
Only Formula 1 and America’s NASCAR stock car series have longer histories than the BTCC – since its inception in 1958 it has attracted and captivated millions of motor racing fans around the world.
Ethan was at the Rockingham motor racing circuit with Team Hard boss Tony Gilham when he learned a seat in the BTCC might be a possibility: “We were at the Rockingham round of the BTCC supporting Bobby Thompson and the rest of Team Hard when discussions started with Tony and I am over the moon that everything is now in place and I can’t wait to get out in the car,” he explained.
“I know it’s going to be tough given the lack of time in the car compared to the other drivers and the 45kg mandated ballast for new entrants. I fully appreciate the trust put in me and will put everything I have into doing well for Team Hard. I know how privileged I am to have been given this opportunity and I am realistic about my expectations
“I really want to be in the BTCC next year and am hoping that this is just the start of my BTCC career. I’d like to thank Tony Gilham, Team Hard, GKR Scaffolding, HMC Group, Hadrian Healthcare and my other sponsors for making this happen.”
Ethan is seen as an emerging talent in the world of motorsport having narrowly missed out in two junior championships last season. He finished on the podium a staggering 21 times out of 26 starts, with race wins, lap records and fastest laps in both the Renault UK Clio Junior Championship and the JSCC finishing as vice champion.
Having gained the Team Hard GKR Scaffolding scholarship, the young racer secured his first VW Cup Championship podium at Rockingham in only his third senior race. This season he has also raced in the Fun Cup Spa 25 hour race at Belgium’s Spa circuit, where he won the Evo 2 class.
Trackside crowd figures for the popular BTCC are now around 40,000 and major manufacturers such as BMW, Honda, Vauxhall and Subaru are all part of the championship roadshow.
ITV has agreed a long-term contract extension up until the end of 2022, providing a perfect platform of millions of viewers for sponsors to raise their profiles and reputations.
If you would like to sponsor Ethan in 2018/2019 please contact him on Facebook, via his racing page @Ethan Hammerton Racing or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is a special place. Racing through the forests at the highest of speeds. Our VW Cup drivers are lucky enough to experience the extreme undulations of this iconic circuit once every year. The drivers up for the challenge of the 4.35mile blast through the Ardennes Forest were Jamie Bond #56, Toby Davis #34, Callum Jenkins #19 and our Team HARD Scholarship winner Ethan Hammerton #23.
As we enter the second half of the season it’s clear that Jamie #56 is in contention for the championship title after a string of strong finishes at Snetterton and Brands Hatch. Toby #34 is also in with an outside chance after taking his first win of the season at Rockingham back in April. The pair are 30 and 56 points behind leader Chris Panayiotou; all to play for then.
It was an early start for the Team HARD crew as free practice got underway at 9:55 local time in the beautiful sunshine. It was a session that proved to have it’s ups and down. We had clear running for both Jamie #56 and Toby #34 who both didn’t have any major issues to report. The pair finished P3 and P10 respectively.
It was disaster of a session for Ethan #23 who’s car was chucking out plumes of smoke, could this of been the end of the weekend already for our scholarship winner? With the car back at base the problem was with the turbo, the crew got to work to fix the issue, but it would be touch and go as to whether Ethan would make qualifying and the rest of the weekend. Callum #19 reported a lack of power in his GKR Scaffolding Golf GTi which was evident as he was 12mph down in the speed traps, a disaster on the kemmel straight and up towards the infamous bus stop chicane. Lot’s to work on in the three hour ‘wait’ for qualifying.
With the sun still beaming down on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps qualifying would prove to be another interesting session for the boys and girls. Jamie #56 placed his Wrightsure.com Golf Gti P6 and in front of championship leader Chris Panayiotou for race 1, a job well done at this point in the season. Callum #19 and Ethan #23 in their fully restored GKR Scaffolding Golf Gti’s would line up in P11 and P17 with Toby #34 finished P13 after power steering trouble.
17:25 soon arrived and with-it time to race, the boys worked wonders to change Toby’s #34 gearbox in time for race 1 of the weekend. The time to race on one of the most iconic circuits in the world was upon the drivers and with the adrenaline pumping it came as no surprise when the 17 VW’s piled into La Source. The two GKR Scaffolding GTi’s and Toby’s #34 C.L.E.A.N Golf GTi all made it through with a clean front end. However, Jamie #56 made contact with another car whilst taking evasive action from the spinning Panayiotou. Fortunately, Jamie could carry on and finished the first lap in P6 as he started. Jamie #56 soon caught at passed the likes of Walton, Witts and Taylor down into turn 1 on successive laps and before you knew it the championship contender was in P3 which he would keep for the remainder of the 30minute race.
It was a remarkable race from our Welshman Toby Davis #34 who managed to pick his way through some robust driving from our competitors to finish the day in P4 from what he described as a ‘somewhat lowly grid position’. Toby’s #34 race management at Spa is further proof of how far he has come in the VW Racing Cup with Team HARD. Consistent points finishes are key to any championship.
More good news for the squad, Callum Jenkins #19 who is new to the championship put in a fine performance to finish the race in P8 and take the top rookie trophy despite having a spin at Campus (turn 14) on the opening lap. After the spin Callum #19 regrouped and much like Toby #34 calmly picked his way through an ever-diminishing field, as the saying goes ‘to finish first, first you must finish’ that certainly applies to Callum here.
Ethan’s #23 day had been very troubled from the get go and unfortunately for our scholarship winner the race also proved disappointing through no fault of his own. Ethan #23, who was running as high as P6 was for much of the race after a good start was forced to retire with just three laps remaining due to a lack of power from the engine. Further disappoint struck Ethan has he fell just short of the 75% completion rule and therefore didn’t classify. It was just one of them days for the 17 year old.
With all day to prepare for the final race of the weekend we went into the race with spirts high. Toby #34 was placed highest on the grid with P3. It was a frantic first couple of laps with all of our drivers making good progress up the field. Leading the charge was Toby #34 who had climbed to P2 and was putting the pressure on the race leader Witts #14. Toby saw his opportunity to take the lead and sent his C.L.E.A.N Golf GTi down the inside at the bus stop chicane. Witts #14 closed the door on the Welshman and the two made slight contact into the first part of the chicane, into the left hander Toby #34 held the upper hand and was in front but an over optimistic dive down the inside by Witts #14 put both in a spin. Toby would continue to finish a fine P2 despite the damage incurred from the lap 2 clash. Callum #19 performed spectacularly to finish P4, his highest finish of the season. Jamie ended the race in P6 after he was forced into the wall on the run down to Eu Rouge, another solid weekend for Jamie who moves ever closer to the summit of the championship. Ethan #23 who ran as high as P6 again suffered more engine trouble and eventually retired with only 4 laps completed.
Overall it was a good weekend for the team who saw its driver collect three trophies. Spa never disappoints and the mix between this iconic circuit and the thrills and spills of the VW cup made for some fantastic racing all over the grid. Spa, we will see you next year!
Team HARD. are delighted to announce that it’s VW Cup driver, will pilot one of the VW Passat CC BTCC cars at the up coming tyre test at Snetterton, Norwich.
Bond who currently sits 3rd in the VW Cup standings will jump into Bobby Thompsons car for the second day of the tyre test. With the car and Bobby getting into a groove together at Croft with an immense drive in race 3 the pair are hoping to bring the car forward and extract more pace in preparation for Round 6 in the BTCC which is also at Snetterton.
The Wrightsure Insurance backed driver has had mixed fortunes so far in the VW Cup with a puncture at Silverstone and Fluid on the track at Rockingham preventing him standing on the top step. But Bond is confident that he can help Bobby get the most from his CC “I raced against Bobby last year and we had a good battle to the title, it was decided on the last race of the season. I’ve spoken with Bobby about his experience so far this year in the BTCC and what the car is like, so I can get as much of an understanding of what to expect. I was also asked to attend a shake down before Croft where I got to drive all 4 of the Team HARD. CC’s. This taster has made me even more excited to get behind the wheel.”
Team Boss Tony Gilham said of Bond jumping into the CC “Bond is a great talent behind the wheel which is clear for people to see with some of the drives he has produced over the years in the VW Cup and with the backing of Wrightsure Insurance and Oakleaf Heating I’m sure he will show that natural skill at the test. As part of the driver development programme within Team HARD. it was logical for us to get Bond in the car to see where he sits in relation to other drivers, as we believe he can make the step up from VW Cup just as Bobby has this season. With the similar driving styles, we hope that between them they can unlock some more pace out of the car at the test.”
Bond finished with “I’m so please to be getting into the CC, I’ve driven the old Team HARD. Avensis and the Maximum Ford Focus so I’m looking forward to the feeling the difference in the cars and how I compare to some of the best drivers in the UK.”
The BTCC Tyre test is this Wednesday and Thursday the 11th and 12th of July.
Qualifying – P5 – not the best qualifying session for us really struggled to make the tyres work and the pace just wasn’t there. Over drove and threw it off at druids.
Race 1 – P4 didn’t get the best of starts and dropped to 7th by turn one but by druids I was back into 5th and after a good battle with my team mate Ethan I managed to get past into 3rd and went to hunt down the leaders…. (not a chance). It was quite a frustrating race from there on loosing heaps of time to the leaders and then got driven past down the straight and a coming together into paddock didn’t help. We finished 3rd on the road to later be penalised and demoted to 4th!
Race 2 – Starting third by druids we managed to get into the lead…. until Graham Hill where everyone got a little bit excited and started a banger race, I got a huge hit from behind that threw me onto the grass. After gathering the car up and getting back on I fell down to third, pushed on and got into second and had the pace to take the win until the safety car came out and hampered my chances with only 2 laps to run at the end.
Overall a decent weekend for points and podiums but also frustrating at the same time.
The guys and girls at team hard are something special we put on a massive fight this weekend we all know what’s happening but everyone keeps smiling and we are still up the front.
A huge thank you to Wrightsure insurance and oakleaf heating and all your guests and fleet livery solutions what an amazing atmosphere at brands hatch for me and all my family and friends the roar when I got out the car was something very special and felt honoured to have so much support.
Up next Spa (and somewhere else, news to follow)
Thankyou everyone for your continued support
Partners Wrightsure insurance Oakleaf heating Team hard racing Fleet livery solutions
Team HARD. Racing are very proud and excited to announce that a deal has been agreed for Dennis Strandberg to switch to the Kent outfit as he continues his push for the 2018 VW Racing cup title.
The super swede was due to be sitting on the side-lines for this weekend’s rounds at Brands Hatch due to budget constraints but following recent discussions with team boss, Tony Gilham of Team HARD. we can now announce that Dennis will be able to continue his push for the title at the wheel of a VW Golf R Cup Car.
Tony said, “To be able to bring someone like Dennis in to the fold at this stage of the season with his pace, experience and current championship position was a no-brainer for us. We are a team that helps our drivers more than anyone else in Motorsport with our unique business strategy and network of associated companies, so we were able to put a package together that worked for all parties involved. We are defending VW Racing Cup champions and so it is very important for us to have the strongest line up possible. We are very much looking forward to working together and seeing what the future holds.”
Dennis added, “It’s great to be able to continue on what has been a strong start to the season and after a few days of discussions with Tony, we are now able to share our plans for Brands Hatch and hopefully beyond. We will be pushing as hard as possible for the title and this weekend we will be looking to achieve as many points as possible. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the team work and to work with my new team mates in a whole new light. I’ve seen the team grow over the years and so will now be able to see it from the inside and how we can work together moving forwards. This is a great opportunity for us both as we have the same ambitions.”
The VW Racing Cup continues this weekend 15th-17th June at Brands Hatch, Kent as part of the Deutsche Fest programme. Deutsche Fest is a celebration of arguably the greatest automotive nation, brought to you by MSV, owner of Brands Hatch. Deutsche Fest will be split into two very different German-themed days. Saturday will feature a track day, Heritage takeover displays, and evening entertainment. Sunday will bring a full race line-up, club displays, and Deutsche Fest Awards.