20-year-old Ollie Pidgley will step into the driving seat of one of Team HARD’s Volkswagen CCs for this weekend’s British Touring Car Championship races at Rockingham, after replacing Dan Welch in the team.
Pidgley will be in the team for the remainder of the season, after signing a deal with Team Principal Tony Gilham to move up from the Mini Challenge Great Britain.
He previously competed in the Renault Clio Cup in 2016 and 2017 and steps into the car previously raced by Welch and before that by Jake Hill in the first half of the year.
“The move came about quickly, as these things often do,” said Pidgley. “I spoke to Tony and it’s an opportunity I just had to grasp.
“It’s always been a dream of mine and locking in four BTCC race weekends is an unbeatable chance for me. I’m really, really looking forward to it. I’ve got everything in place and I’m ready to go.
“I sampled BTCC machinery back in 2016 when I was awarded a day’s seat-time with Ciceley Motorsport at Silverstone, having been a part of its Renault UK Clio Cup outfit that year.
“Purely in terms of that being front-wheel drive machinery, and a sequential box, it was a similar feel to what I’ve been used to.
“Obviously, there’s a step, in terms of performance and with the tyre but I feel physically ready. Procedurally, regarding sessions and the structure of a weekend, things will be different but adjusting to that won’t be a problem.
“I’m going to just go about my business and see how we fare. I am not setting myself any specific targets at this moment.
“We want to set our goals as we go along and improving weekend-by-weekend has to be the aim.
“Clean races, getting seat time and bringing the car home will be our first thought. Rockingham’s a place I like and probably the circuit I know best. I’ll do my own thing and see where that takes us.
“For me, this is a precursor to achieving a full campaign in the BTCC. I know the cars are coming on a lot at Team HARD and they made a step at the last one with Bobby raking in good points and showing strong pace.
“I know Bobby well and I know he is quick. I’ll be looking to glean information where I can and I know with the way Tony runs things I’ll settle quickly.”
Gilham is pleased to have another up-and-coming talent in the car and pointed to his team’s proven track record in bringing on new BTCC talent.
“It’s a change that’s come about very quickly but we’ve been aware of Ollie for a while,” said Gilham. “Bobby and Ollie are close, and they share a similar profile – they’re both young, hungry and up-and-coming drivers that deserve a chance in Britain’s top-tier championship.
“The conversation was an easy one for us to have, and he’s in the seat for the remainder of the season.
“As an outfit, we’ve always been willing to back young talent and we’ve played a part in developing the careers of several drivers who’ve gone on to prove themselves as very capable racers. The likes of Aiden Moffat, James Cole and Jack Goff have all been a part of the Team HARD stable and have gone on to become race winners in the BTCC.
“We were sure we’d made a good step forward with the car at Snetterton, and with Bobby scoring a top ten finish and double points in the ‘Diamond Double’ we were vindicated in our efforts. His pace was right up there too over the course of the weekend. We’re looking for more of the same from our quartet going forward.”