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Michael Epps completes Team HARD trio for 2016 BTCC

Team HARD has confirmed that Michael Epps, who previously raced with Tony Gilham’s outfit in the VW Cup last year, will graduate to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for this season and will pilot the third of the team’s Toyota Avensis cars.

Epps, who picked up numerous race wins and podiums in the well-regarded VW series last campaign, also has previous experience in both Formula Renault and USF2000, a series on the support package for the worldwide-renowned IndyCar Series.

The move to the BTCC completes Team. HARD’s lineup along with Jake Hill and another newcomer to the UK’s premier motorsport series, Chris Smiley.

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Commenting on the decision, Epps underlined his excitement and is hopeful of securing some points finishes in his maiden season.

“It’s probably the most exciting time in my career so far. I could only dream of a BTCC seat at one stage and now it’s really happening – I’m struggling to take it in,” he said.

“There was a prospect of driving in the BTCC from the very beginning of my relationship with Team HARD and RCIB, but over thewinter we have come closer and closer to actually being able to make a deal work.

“The opportunity presented itself and we had to grab it and work it into this. Now here we are and I can’t wait to go blasting up to Paddock Hill on that first weekend at Brands!

“The aim is obviously to get as high up as possible and with the current situation of cars changing packages and lots of money being spent, you just never know. I’m optimistic and hoping to bring home points.”

Team Principal Tony Gilham, who raced for the team at the final two meetings of last year following the withdrawal of Kieran Gallagher, believes Epps is a valuable addition to his team as they switch ethos to developing young talent, as opposed to offering seats to the driver with the largest wallet.

“We have chosen to support young up-and-coming drivers once again,” he explained.

“We’re rewriting the rule book and focusing on skill rather than just looking for drivers with big budgets.”

“Mike is another very exciting prospect and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the Avensis. Having witnessed his pace last year, we are confident he will enjoy a very promising debut season. This is just the start of a long-term plan for the team as we now look to establish a solid platform on which to build moving forwards.”

The team will now look forward to unveiling it’s three challengers under the name of RCIB Insurance Racing at the Season Launch, which takes place at Donington Park on March 22nd.

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