Mike Bushell will continue to race for the Team HARD outfit for the 2019 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after an impressive season for the team, despite the up and down performances for the team as a whole.
It’s been a tough season for Tony Gilham’s team with the results not being as good as originally hoped for at the start of the campaign with numerous driver swaps too. In fact, it’s only Mike Bushell and Bobby Thompson who have remained with the team throughout the season.
After the team was docked Championship points after an illegal part was found on Carl Boardley’s car at Knockhill, the team refurbished all four of their Volkswagen CCs and gave their cars an all-new striking black livery, replacing the white that they had started the season with.
Team Principal Tony Gilham admitted that “For us, 2019 starts now as it hasn’t been the season we’d hoped for. Over the first half of the season, it was very up and down. We showed glimpses of pace, but it wasn’t very consistent.”
The team arrived at Silverstone last weekend with all-new garages as well, aiming to finish the season on a high and use it as a catalyst for 2019.
Speaking on re-signing Bushell for the 2019 season, Gilham stated, “Mike is an unbelievable talent and I have never met a more driven and ambitious driver in my life. He has extensive knowledge about the car and has been a real asset for the team in the engineering department.”
He continued, “He is the complete package and one that we wanted to hold on to in our quest to be a top team in the best championship in the world. It is amazing for the team to have a deal in place already for 2019 and will enable us to improve in all the areas where we feel we can really work on over the winter. The Volkswagen CC has been extensively developed and we now believe we have a package to rival any other team and driver combination on the grid. We still have more to come and will be looking to build in certain areas where we need to in order to compete at the front consistently.”
Gilham concluded, “We are still a young family team, but are very determined to succeed at the very top and in Mike we have the perfect driver to do that. The whole team are behind Mike and we must say a huge thank you to every single person involved in what we are building. We have shown glimpses of pace but now it is time to take it to the next level.”
Mike Bushell stated his delight at sorting out his plans for next year early and staying with the team. “I am delighted to be staying with the team for the 2019 season. After the struggles early on this year, hard work and the determination to not give up has rewarded us with strong pace and several great points finishes. Topping the timesheets at Silverstone in Free Practice was a real highlight, not to mention achieving the team’s best ever qualifying with fourth place at Rockingham.”
He continued, “The key to success in the BTCC is consistency. I always look up to the likes of Tom Ingram and Speedworks who stick together, keep making progress and are now fighting for the overall driver’s title. I see Team HARD as the perfect place to further my racing career as my relationship with the team goes beyond the race weekends and I have been able to be heavily involved with the preparation and engineering. We’ve become a family and every success is shared between us all.”
He concluded, “We’ve had some real flashes of speed this year and we have a great winter testing plan lined up to build on the solid package we have now. All of this would not be possible without the help of Tony Gilham and I look forward to repaying the faith he has in me.”
Bushell currently sits in twenty-second position of the overall driver’s standings heading into the finale at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit next weekend where he’ll be looking to finish a solid season on a high before getting ready for the 2019 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.
By Jordan Hollands.