Team HARD. take gamble with scholarship winner Brown for 2020 BTCC campaign
Team HARD’s RCiB insurance racing scholarship winner Ollie Brown takes over the second RCiB Insurance with Fox Transport car to partner Jack Goff for the 2020 season.
Ollie Brown completes Team HARD. Racing’s 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver line up as he is confirmed to be replacing Mike Bushell in the second RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport VW CC.
Brown won the 2020 RCiB Insurance Racing scholarship run by Team HARD. Racing having never entered a competitive car race before. The last competitive race event Ollie participated in was some 20 years ago in karting. Since then however Ollie has been a driving instructor for the well known Palmersport organisation.
The team have been working hard to develop the Volkswagen CC which demonstrated an improvement in pace during the second half of the 2019 season, consistently challenging the front runners. This improvement in performance was highlighted when the team took their first ever BTCC win at Silverstone.
Looking ahead to the biggest challenge of his life, Ollie Brown said, “To say I’m overwhelmed with joy to be in the BTCC is an understatement. I have been watching the BTCC as a fan for the last 20 years whilst working with some past and current drivers as a driver coach and I’m buzzing to join them on the track this year.
“This opportunity would never have been possible without my best friend of 25 years entering me into the RCiB Insurance Racing scholarship last year. A shot in the dark has become one of the best moments of my life!
“I cannot wait to get started at the weekend after experiencing my first BTCC action at Snetterton a few weeks ago when I tested the car.
“Naturally, I’m gutted for Mike and Howard and I’m sure that without COVID-19 they would have completed the season in the car, I wish them all the best.
“It has been a whirlwind already just to get to this point, I didn’t even have a licence 5 weeks ago!
“I would like to thank Tony and the team for having faith in me for this season and I will be going out there and giving as good as I get. Bring on Donington!”
Mike Bushell who recently recovered from Myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle was set to miss the opening three rounds of the season pre-lockdown due to the illness. The nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic had looked to buy Bushell some time but with the economic complications of COVID-19 he looks set to miss out again in 2020.
Bushell commented. “I’m gutted to have been dealt two blows this year, firstly ill health followed by the economic implications of COVID further delaying the start of my season. It really feels that with these two unforeseeable situations that it just wasn’t to be for 2020.
“I must say thanks to Tony and the team for getting me out in the car at the recent tyre test and also delaying this decision for as long as realistically possible to see how things unfolded on my side.
“I’d like to wish Ollie good luck for the season ahead, he seems a very talented and capable driver and I’m sure he will be right in the mix throughout the season. For me, it’s time to focus on my family and business as we start to recover from lockdown.”
Team HARD. Racing’s Managing Director, Tony Gilham commented. “This is a bittersweet announcement for me, I’m gutted for Mike and Howard who have been fantastic for the team for a number of years now. The world is in a funny place at the moment and this BTCC season is proving to be no different. As other teams and drivers have proved getting onto the grid for 2020 is very tricky and unfortunately Mike and Howard have had to miss out.
“On the other hand, Ollie is a fantastic replacement to drive the RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport car this season and I’m proud of my team that we are able to source a replacement and not just withdraw the car. Ollie was among a very competitive scholarship programme in January and he stood top of the pile and was magnificent throughout.
“In previous years we have experienced some negativity for driver changes, but I have full confidence that nobody will be doubting our faith in Ollie by the end of the season.
“People outside of the Motorsport circle may have never heard of Ollie but within the industry Ollie is well known and has the potential to mix it with the best in the business.
“To get to this point Ollie has taken multiple wins and podiums over the last month as he has raced to get the required license to race in the BTCC against some very respectable opposition. He is a real dark horse for this season and certainly one to watch”
Ollie has been racing in multiple events since racing resumed after the nationwide lockdown to acquire the required license to compete in the BTCC which includes multiple test days in the VW CC prepared by Team HARD. Racing.