Today (8th August), Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing has announced that Ollie Pidgley will enter the fold driving one of their Volkswagen CC’s from Rockingham this weekend for the remainder of the campaign.
Pidgley was part of the TOCA package in 2016 and 2017 racing in the Renault UK Clio Cup before moving on to the Mini Challenge Great Britain for this season.
Speaking on the deal, Pidgley admitted, “It’s an opportunity I just had to grasp. The move came about quickly, as these things often do! “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.”
As part of the Ciceley Motorsport junior set up in 2016, Pidgley was given the chance to sample some NGTC machinery at Silverstone – meaning the twenty-year old does sort of know what to expect when he takes control of the Team HARD Volkswagen CC this weekend, formerly piloted by Jake Hill – helping him get on the podium in round two at Brands Hatch Indy earlier in the season and more recently, Dan Welch at the Snetterton Diamond Jubilee weekend.
“I sampled BTCC machinery back in 2016,” Pidgley said. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Speaking on any targets for the rest of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car season, Pidgley said, “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.”
However, the young man is also under no illusions that this could pave a way for him to enter a full BTCC campaign sometime in the near future. “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 (Gilham) runs things I’ll settle quickly.”
Tony Gilham’s Team HARD is renowned for offering talented young racers the chance to step into the fold and continue their development at what is an established outfit operating within the UK’s premier motorsport series. With Pidgley’s signing, that philosophy continues.
“It’s a change that’s come about very quickly but we’ve been aware of Ollie for a while,” said Gilham. “Bobby (Thompson) 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.”
Gilham admitted, “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.”
After a great weekend at Snetterton, especially for Bobby Thompson who recorded his best ever finish in the series, Gilham concluded, “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.”
I’m sure Ollie will be very quick and if he can keep it clean and consistent – which he aims to be – there’s no reason why he can’t find himself in the points-paying positions before the seasons’ conclusion at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit later in the year.
By Jordan Hollands