Multiple National Hot Rod World Champion Carl Boardley will return to Team HARD for the 2020 BTCC season, this time behind the wheel of an ex-West Surrey Racing prepared BMW 1 Series.
Boardley made his full-season BTCC debut in 2019 (after competing at one round in 2018), finishing 29th in the overall standings with points finishes at Donington, Croft, Oulton Park and Brands Hatch GP. After self-purchasing the BMW 1 Series, he is looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the car for the first time over the offseason.
Boardley said “I’m over the moon to be back in the BTCC for 2020. I will admit that the 2019 season had its demons, but we used it to find our feet and understand the workings of the BTCC. The car has the potential to mix it at the front, so when this opportunity became available, I just had to jump at the chance.”
With the BMW 1 Series a regular race winner in its time in the BTCC, Boardley will be targeting points finishes right from the get-go in 2020.
He continued, “There were several options available but when WSR mentioned the availability of an established winning car, I couldn’t help but take an interest. I have a great working relationship with Tony and his Team HARD squad so this is a fantastic fit for everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to trying the car out over the coming months as we aim to hit the ground running at the season opener at Donington Park.”
The BMW 1 Series will be the first rear-wheel-drive car Tony Gilham’s outfit, Team HARD have run in the BTCC, but Gilham is confident previous experience running rear-wheel-drive Ginetta’s will play to the team’s advantage.
Gilham said “We have developed a great relationship with Carl over the years he been with us and the 2019 season was a challenging one. However, there were still moments when Carl was able to demonstrate his natural ability behind the wheel and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring the BMW name within our team. I’m glad that Carl could get a deal with WSR to get them to hand over their hugely successful 1 series. We have relative inexperience with rear-wheel drive machinery in the BTCC but firmly believe that Carl is the man to help steer us in the right direction. His years of experience and race engineering ability are really going to aid the development and understanding of the BMW 1 Series.”
The arrival of the BMW 1 Series marks the start of Team HARD’s transition away from the Volkswagen CC, their car of choice in the BTCC in recent seasons.
Speaking about the transition, Gilham continued “I’m sure much of the BTCC paddock and racing enthusiasts know, that our time with our beloved Volkswagen CC’s is coming to an end due to the current regulations which means we have a maximum of two years left with these cars. It’s a good time to start exploring all avenues for the coming seasons as we look for a worthy successor. With the extensive developments we’ve made to the CC’s and the addition of the rear-wheel-drive BMW, this is the perfect start to this process!”
Boardley will test his new challenger over the winter ahead of the new BTCC campaign which begins at Donington Park in March 2020.