Volkswagen Racing Cup winner Bobby Thompson will make the step up to the British Touring Car Championship with Team HARD next year.
Thompson joined HARD in 2015 when he made his VW debut, taking a win and two podiums and finishing 10th in the championship, but switched to Power Maxed Racing for the 2016 season.
Whilst with Power Maxed, Thompson made his debut in a BTCC car, completing the Snetterton tyre test with the team.
He returned to HARD for the 2017 season, where he took six race wins on his way to taking the VW Racing Cup title.
“Bobby is an outstanding young talent and we’re excited to see how he fares against the top touring drivers in the country,” said team boss Tony Gilham. “We have a very strong package and we are improving all the time as a team.
“He has already proven to us that he has what it takes to compete at the very top and it is great to have got this deal done very early to give us the maximum amount of time to prepare over the winter. It is a big step up, but one that we believe he is more than ready for and have no doubt that he will do us proud.”
“I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember,” said Thompson.
“I never had any intentions on trying to get to Formula 1 or anything like that. It’s always been touring cars and it’s always been the BTCC.
“It’ll be a big step up, I’m sure of that, but I think we’re ready for it – we know what to expect. We had a test last year at Snetterton and it was amazing how much more grip there was available than in the VW Cup car. It’s more demanding and I’m already working on my fitness.”
Thompson is the third driver to be conformed for the 2018 season, with Rob Austin and Andy Jordan already confirmed at HMS Racing and WSR respectively.
Thompson might not be the only VW driver to make the step up to the BTCC this year. As part of their prize for finishing inside the top three in the championship, Tom Witts and Jamie Bond tested with Maximum Motorsport last month. Neither have confirmed their 2018 plans.
Feature image credit: Caroline Rhea