Team HARD has taken the covers off its new CUPRA Leon Competición BTCC car, with drivers Jack Goff and Árón Taylor-Smith getting their first glimpse of the new racer.
The team confirmed last year that it would be building four new CUPRA cars for the 2021 British Touring Car Championship, to replace its ageing Volkswagen CC cars which it has campaigned since 2016 and which date back to the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Goff, Taylor-Smith and Glynn Geddie have already been confirmed as drivers for the team this year, with the fourth signing one of only two seats yet to be revealed ahead of the new season.
Team HARD Managing Director Tony Gilham took the covers off the car and believes that having the first car which is ready for the BTCC’s new hybrid era next year gives the outfit a strong starting position with its new machinery.
“What a special day for the team, it’s probably the biggest in our history,” said Gilham. “Pre-season is always an exhausting but equally exciting time and this year we’ve reached new heights in both.
“A huge credit to the team for all of their hard work so far. It’s been an incredibly tough few months with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic trying it’s best to slow down our build program, but we are now ready to hit the track and put the new CUPRA Leon through its paces.
“To have the first hybrid-ready BTCC car is a huge achievement for me and the team and something I am immensely proud of.
“To be the first puts us in a great position for the 2022 season as the BTCC races into a new era. It’s all incredibly exciting.
“Looking a bit closer to the now, we have the 2021 season to really get to grips with the new car and with a bunch of other teams changing cars but opting to run a satellite car this season is going to prove a great test, but we are up for the challenge.
“The team has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years and I’m immensely proud of everyone involved. If the new car goes as well as it looks, we will be fighting at the sharp end this season.”
Goff hopes that the new car will provide on-track rewards for the effort put in behind the scenes by the Kent-based team.
“The results over the last two seasons haven’t reflected the hard work that Tony and the team have put in,” said Goff.
“This new project with the CUPRA Leon will provide us the platform to really stamp our authority on the BTCC as we move our way up the field.
“We are under no illusions it will be tough, but we are ready and more determined than ever to get the results we deserve out on track.”
Taylor-Smith, who last raced in the BTCC in 2017, is was impressed by the newest addition to the BTCC grid.
“I think what impresses me the most about the new CUPRA is the attention to detail that Team HARD have put in,” said the Irishman.
“Every single component on the car has been designed with performance in mind utilising some of the best engineers in the game. I have no doubt in my mind that this car will be a front runner after seeing it in person.
“From the outside you can see how this car is the perfect fit for the BTCC. The wheelbase, the dimensions and even the body work are exactly what is needed for a car to be competitive in the series.
“Yes, getting to see the new CUPRA was brilliant but arguably even better was having the chance to properly meet my new team.
“Their passion towards this new car is infectious and it’s the first time in a long time that I have felt ‘at home’ within a team. It’s shaping up to be an incredible year.
“I thought that I was already excited for the season but actually getting to see the car has taken this to a whole new level.”