Ginetta GT4 Supercup racer and four-time National Hot Rod World Champion Carl Boardley will get the chance to race in the British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill, in place of Michael Caine.
Boardley, who has driven in the Ginetta GT4 Supercup for the last few seasons, having race wins and podium finishes, has been desperate to get a drive in the Tin-Top racing series. This season, Boardley has been run by Team HARD and currently sits second in the standings twenty points behind Charlie Ladell.
Michael Caine has had to step down from the Knockhill weekend due to family commitments. Caine has had a tough year so far in the BTCC failing to score any Championship points from the previous twenty-one races.
Speaking to the BTCC, Boardley admitted, “This is something that has been on my radar for a while. I came close to joining in 2013 but had to change plans due to a health issue. I am looking at the championship as an option for 2019, and racing in Scotland will be a good chance to see how the circus operates, how the cars feel and what the racing is like.”
Boardley also admitted that Qualifying and race one will be difficult due to the newcomer ballast he has to carry. “As a new entry I will be going with the mandated 45kg of success ballast in race one, which means it will be tough to get competitive results, but the Team HARD cars have been running strongly recently so there is a chance to do something in races two and three.”
Team HARD principal Tony Gilham said that he regretted Caine’s decision to step down but was glad to help Boardley, progress. “Michael Caine is such a character and he is loved by everyone at Team HARD,” said Gilham. “He has been part of our team for a long time and will continue to be so. We have had a great journey together in the BTCC and although it’s not been as competitive as we’d both hoped, it’s always great to have him around.”
Gilham said that he came close to securing Boardley to run in the BTCC at the start of this year, but the driver decided to switch to the Ginetta GT4 Supercup instead. “We virtually had a deal done – and he even tested on a couple of occasions – but the decision was taken to switch focus to Ginetta Supercup. Carl had wanted to step up to the BTCC for a long time.”
Gilham also stated how helpful this experience could be for Boardley if he decided to do the BTCC next season. “Getting a toe-in-the-water at Knockhill will give him some experience in what is a highly competitive championship and it will all add to his knowledge ahead of a full campaign if he decides to do the BTCC in 2019. This is a great first step for him to see what it is all about.”
Having come from a similar route to Rob Collard and Matt Simpson, who both started racing on the ovals in Hot Rods and are now both BTCC race winners in their own right, Boardley will be hoping to follow in their footsteps in the near future.
By Jordan Hollands.