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Team HARD to build new CUPRA Leon cars for 2021 BTCC

Team HARD has revealed that it will build a minimum of two new CUPRA Leon cars to campaign in the 2021 British Touring Car Championship to replace its ageing Volkswagen CCs.

The Kent-based team has campaigned its Volkswagens for the past four seasons, having reacquired the machinery which it originally developed for the team back in 2013.

Over the past eight years the car has amassed 14 outright wins, the majority in 2014 and 2015. Now the team has decided to introduce new machinery to the BTCC grid for 2021.

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Recent years have seen the CUPRA name become synonymous with TCR competition, since the brand spun off from SEAT in 2018.

The last time a SEAT León was seen in the BTCC was in 2013, when BMR’s Warren Scott made his driving début.

The team has used the COVID-19 lockdown period to assess a range of car models from various manufacturers, before settling on CUPRA for 2021.

“We are delighted to be bringing in a new marque to the BTCC,” said Team HARD Managing Director Tony Gilham.

“The Volkswagen CC has enjoyed a great deal of success over its life but it’s time for change as we look to the new, hybrid era of touring cars.

“We have done a lot of research and we believe that the dimensions and overall shape of the CUPRA Leon will work perfectly with the current NGTC regulations that are in the BTCC.

“A lot of hard work and countless hours lie ahead but we are confident that we can turn this new car into a competitive beast that will be mixing it at the front from the get-go next season.”

Team HARD has already begun the design process for the new car, factoring in the introduction of hybrid technology into the BTCC in 2022, including liaising with Cosworth Electronics on the future-proofing of the car for hybrid technology.

Current driver Jack Goff believes the answer to the team’s struggle for pace this year is an all-new car for next season.

“We had a really good winter programme with the CC and that’s reflected in the race pace which has been good all season,” said Goff.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been lacking in qualifying, we need something more and the Volkswagen CC’s capabilities have reached its peak.

“The CC is coming to the end of its life after the 2021 season so we have decided to move to a new car a year earlier to develop and get to grips with a new chassis before the all important introduction of the hybrid system in 2022.

“It’s going to be a busy winter but for now I’m fully focused on giving the CC the best send off I can!”

BTCC Chief Executive Alan Gow welcomed the team’s decision to replace its venerable CC with the all-new CUPRA model.

“It’s always fantastic to see more new cars join the BTCC, this time with Team HARD Racing,” said Gow. “We set out the NGTC regulations to allow for great diversity and having the CUPRA Leon on the grid is further proof of the strength of those regulations.

“This new project from Team HARD Racing should help this popular team advance up the grid in 2021.

“It’s no secret that the Volkswagen CC’s are one of the oldest on the grid but credit to Tony and his team for sticking with them and keeping the cars as competitive as possible.

“I look forward to seeing the step forward Team HARD. Racing can make with completely new cars from next season.”

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