Team HARD. Racing is delighted to welcome Daryl DeLeon to the team for 2024 following his Team HARD. Racing Scholarship win.

DeLeon competed with over 150 entrants who attended Blyton Park Driving Centre from 15th November through 18th November, with each taking part in a driving assessment, fitness test, and media exercise to prove their ability in all areas and ultimately show the potential to race for the team.

Using our VW Cup Golfs, professional instructors Lewis & Bradley Kent, Josh Stanton, Simon Lancaster, Matt Hearst, Steven Chandler assessed each candidate’s racing line, car control, braking, gear changes, throttle control, and ability to take instruction. Each candidate was assessed twice over in an alternate car with a different instructor, allowing the panel to evaluate their ability to adapt and gain perspective.

The fitness test was led by Paul Watson, the team’s fitness partner for the event. Paul included a variety of exercises that focused on core and stamina, including a balance test and weighted exercises. Candidates were also tested on their reaction times as Paul explained the importance of being sharp every second out on track.

We were also joined by Is it Fast media group, headed by Stuart Porro, who hosted a media exercise. Candidates were interviewed on camera while Is it Fast focused on their use of language, the pace of speech, and the elements that concluded their camera craft; posture, stance, and eye contact – all important areas that are crucial in building a personal brand and relationships as an athlete.

Photographer: Scott Jacobs

Managing Director, Tony Gilham, sat down with our instructors and coordinators above at the end of each day to debrief, followed by the difficult task of narrowing the pool of candidates down to the top 12 – which became 15 with the exceptional turnout we saw.

The final took place on 26th February 2023 at Brands Hatch, local to Team HARD.’s workshop and office base. The 15 competitor show-down saw candidates be assessed in the VW Cup Golfs again, before cutting the shortlist down to 6 remaining drivers in with a chance to win a fully-funded season of racing. The second assessment of the day, in the same cars, allowed the panel to narrow the candidates down further to only 3 finalists.

The top 3 scholarship candidates for 2024.

Managing Director, Tony Gilham, said “We had an incredible entry to the 2023 Scholarship and saw lots of talent across the board; fitness, media, and in the driving sessions. The level of skill and hunger for the opportunity was high, and we saw a great understanding of what it takes to become a modern-day racing driver from our candidates.

“There were lots of questions asked throughout the scholarship at Blyton Park and during the final at Brands Hatch – I feel there have been lots of lessons learned by us as a team and by those who entered. I’m sure everyone has taken away great value from this experience.

“We are very much looking forward to this season and working with Daryl to achieve his full potential in the British Endurance Championship and acting as our official BTCC development driver. We know he is going to be a fantastic asset to Team HARD. Racing”.

Photograph: Steve Akehurst

Team HARD. Racing has now launched its sixth scholarship where entrants are given the opportunity to win a fully-funded season with the team in the British Endurance Championship driving an Audi S3 BTCC car as well as becoming the team’s official BTCC development driver.

Please see the complete information on our 2024 Scholarship here.