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Hard stays in BTCC after all in surprise U-turn

Crowd-favourite British Touring Car Championship underdog Team Hard is to remain in the series after all in 2024 in a surprise development.

Michael Crees,Team HARD Cupra Leon

JEP / Motorsport Images

The Kent squad ran a series-record six-car line-up of its Cupra Leon model in 2023, but after a season that was troubled behind the scenes the team collapsed.

But now team boss Tony Gilham, whose squad has been active in the BTCC since 2012, has confirmed that Hard is back with a slimmed-down two-car operation.

This will be with the Cupra, meaning that there will be four versions of the machine on the grid, with new team Restart Racing already working on two ex-Hard cars.

Gilham, whose team had three TOCA TBL entrants’ licences but was forced to let them go, will once again use two TBLs belonging to Aiden Moffat, who is racing for the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota team this year.

The team’s statement says that Aiden Moffat Racing and Hard ‘will continue to work together over the course of the season’ – they collaborated on AMR’s Laser Tools Racing Infiniti programme in 2021-22.

“I have made many mistakes over the years, some poor business decisions and ultimately over-ambition has had a huge negative impact on us as a team,” said Gilham.

“TOCA and Alan Gow have been very supportive, and I want to thank each and every person that has been there for me during these tough times.

Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD Cupra Leon

Dexter Patterson, Re.Beverages and Bartercard with Team HARD Cupra Leon

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We have lots to repair, the rebuild has begun and I will continue to fight to get us back to where we should and need to be.

“We have helped many people over the years and will need the loyal support of trusted friends, colleagues and partners moving forwards to achieve what we are setting out to do.

“There has been lots of online and social media activity – both good and bad – and we will do everything possible to rebuild our team, reputation and any damaged relationships that have happened as a result.

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“We most definitely tried to take on too much and were let down by what the team thought were some trusted allies, whilst also suffering from the effects of both COVID and the economic climate.

“We are excited about what lies ahead and everything possible will be done to ensure the business looks forward to a brighter future.”

No drivers have yet been announced, with the team saying that the first is already signed and that ‘discussions continue with regard to the final seat’.

Sources have suggested two race-winning BTCC drivers in contention for the squad.

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