Dexter Patterson has signed with Team HARD to race in the 2023 British Touring Car Championship, meaning the Scot will enter into his second season by switching to front-wheel drive machinery.
Patterson, 19, joined the BTCC at the start of the 2022 season, racing in an Infiniti Q50 for Laser Tools Racing.
He ended the year 23rd overall, having scored a best result of 14th on two occasions and finished in the points three times in his 30-race campaign.
The 2017 Junior World Karting champion took part in a test with Team HARD in November, acquainting himself with his new CUPRA Leon steed for next year.
Like 2022 team-mate Aiden Moffat, Patterson is finding a new car for next season after the Moffat-run team spoke this year of their plan to move on from the Infiniti Q50.
He will also have new backing for next year, with Laser Tools Racing having announced last month of its intention to step down from backing a team in the championship.
“I am really happy to be remaining in the BTCC for the 2023 season,” said Patterson, who previously competed in single-seaters in Formula 4 and British F3. “I loved every second of last year and felt that my performances towards the end of the season showed everybody what I am capable of.
“Switching to the CUPRA Leon was a no-brainer for me after the test I completed in November; the car felt really positive and provided me with a baseline that I can work with over the winter to move up the field and challenge for the Jack Sears Trophy.
“Joining Bobby [Thompson], who has previous experience in the car, is going to really help me settle into front-wheel drive machinery for the first time and I can’t wait to get out there and get more miles under my belt.
“A big thanks to Tony [Gilham] and everyone at Team HARD. Racing for believing in me. I’m looking forward to being integrated into the team and seeing what we can achieve together.”
Team Owner Tony Gilham has already praised Patterson for what he sees as a quick ability to adapt to new machinery.
“What a delightful signing this is for the team,” said Gilham. “We worked with Dexter last season during his time in the Infiniti and he is such a down-to-earth and calm character but shows real speed and determination whilst at the wheel of a race car.
“He really took the fight to the more established drivers last season and we as a team really admired that.
“Dexter had a great test with us at Donington Park last month and despite his lack of experience in front-wheel drive machinery was on the pace from the off and really got to grips with the CUPRA Leon.
“One of the many eye-catching moments on that day was his ability to quickly adapt to an unfamiliar car in tricky conditions to go quicker than he did earlier in the season at the wheel of the Infiniti.
“We are really starting to bring together a great driver line-up for 2023 which has a mix of experience and youth. I’m excited for the season ahead and I’m really pleased Dexter has chosen to join us on our journey.”