Taylor-Smith makes BTCC return in Team Hard Cupra

Four-time British Touring Car Championship race winner Aron Taylor-Smith is to return to the series in 2021

Taylor-Smith makes BTCC return in Team Hard Cupra

The 31-year-old Dubliner has become the third driver named in Team Hard's squad of new-build Cupra Leons, and will line up alongside the already confirmed Jack Goff and Glynn Geddie.

Taylor-Smith raced in the BTCC from 2012-17, and in 2014 scored two victories with a Volkswagen CC run by the squad of Team Hard boss Tony Gilham.

In 2018 he switched into GT racing in the Blancpain Sprint Cup, but spent the 2020 season on the sidelines.

He explained that the deal with Hard was smoothed by his manager Warren Scott, who also looks after 2020 champion Ash Sutton and whose BMR team Taylor-Smith has raced with in the BTCC.

"I am back and more ready than ever!" said Taylor-Smith.

"Watching from the sidelines this year made me realise how much I miss the BTCC. It's a championship like no other and I was determined to get back on the grid for 2021.

"What I love about Tony is his passion to win - it's refreshing to be around, and I already know that I will feel right at home.

"The personnel that he has collected to join this project are amongst the best in the game, and he's done an unbelievably good job with the Cupra.

"I want to thank both Tony and Warren for putting this package together for me - it's a big deal to return to the BTCC."

Gilham added: "I'm delighted to have Aron on board with us for the 2021 campaign driving the all-new Cupra Leon.

"He has proven race-winning pedigree in the series and has always proved a match for any of his team-mates in the past, which include multiple champions.

"It was important to acquire a strong driver line-up this year to help develop our new car, and to have three-top line drivers at this stage is a brilliant result for the team.

"Aron will be joining good friend Jack once again after the pair were team-mates in 2014. The fact that these guys have worked together before will really accelerate the development of the car and help get our season started on the front foot."

Autosport understands that Hard's line-up could swell to as many as four Cupras in 2021, after running three of the venerable VW CCs plus Carl Boardley's BMW 125i M Sport in 2020.

Taylor-Smith's confirmation comes hard on the heels of Excelr8 Motorsport announcing the first of its four drivers for 2021.

Jack Butel, who finished third in the Jack Sears Trophy this season at the wheel of a Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes A-Class, will drive one of the Excelr8 Hyundai i30 Ns as they enter their second season of competition.

Remember when...

As well as teaming up in 2014, Taylor-Smith and Goff had parallel careers in the Renault Clio UK Cup series and were team-mates in 2011.

Taylor-Smith was runner-up that year and Goff was fifth, both with Team Pyro, before Goff went on to claim the crown in 2012, the year Taylor-Smith took his BTCC bow.

shares
comments
Team Hard reveals Geddie as second Cupra driver for 2021 BTCC season

Previous article

Team Hard reveals Geddie as second Cupra driver for 2021 BTCC season

Next article

Sutton to defend BTCC title with new Laser Tools-Team Hard alliance

Sutton to defend BTCC title with new Laser Tools-Team Hard alliance
Load comments

About this article

Series BTCC
Drivers Jeff Smith , Brett Smith , Aron Taylor-Smith
Teams BTC Racing
Author Marcus Simmons
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Plus

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s plenty of talking points elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action

BTCC
35m
The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best Plus

The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best

The Lancashire squad of Ciceley Motorsport has been a BTCC race winner for several years with Adam Morgan and Mercedes. But the switch to WSR-built BMWs and addition of Tom Chilton as a true barometer for Morgan should see the team step up into title contention

BTCC
22h
How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC Plus

How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC

After topping the times at the end of British Touring Car Championship pre-season testing, it feels like Gordon Shedden has never been away. But after plenty of changes behind the scenes, the three-time champion is bedding himself in to pick up where he left off

BTCC
May 5, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Plus

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes

BTCC
May 4, 2021
How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait Plus

How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait

After seven years together, Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport have amicably split and gone down separate paths for the 2021 BTCC season. With engineer Spencer Aldridge joining him at the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai squad, Ingram is confident he can challenge for titles from the off

BTCC
Apr 30, 2021
How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary Plus

How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary

The Dolomite Sprint was a potent giantkilling weapon during the 1970s in the British Saloon Car Championship, now known as the BTCC. Tin-top legend Andy Rouse explains how it became such a force

BTCC
Apr 25, 2021
The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years Plus

The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years

It’s four decades since one of UK motorsport’s most successful teams made its debut at Silverstone in British Formula 3. Now it’s top dog in the BTCC, time to blow out some candles with boss Dick Bennetts

BTCC
Mar 12, 2021
Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return Plus

Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return

OPINION: The British Touring Car Championship Lord taketh away Dan Cammish, then giveth Gordon Shedden. That means substituting what would have been a future champion with an all-time series great with a point to prove on his return

BTCC
Mar 11, 2021