Thompson ready to ride HARD

Hornchurch's Bobby Thompson (left) with Tony Gilham, team owner of Team Hard

Hornchurch's Bobby Thompson (left) with Tony Gilham, team owner of Team Hard - Credit: Archant

Hornchurch youngster preparing for new season

Bobby Thompson will be racing in the British VW Championship in 2015

Bobby Thompson will be racing in the British VW Championship in 2015 - Credit: Archant

Hornchurch’s Bobby Thompson has signed with former British Touring Car outfit Team HARD to compete in the 2015 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup.

Thompson, 18, will drive a fully race prepared VW Golf GTI R Cup car in the ever popular series, which boasts regular grids of more than 30 drivers and forms part of the prestigious British GT support package.

After making a big impression on his single-seater debut in last year’s MSA Formula Ford Championship, Thompson will look to capitalise on his growing reputation in pursuit of a drive in the British Touring Car Championship.

“I’m delighted to be joining Team HARD and the Volkswagen Racing Cup,” said Thompson, who enjoyed a glittering career in the Formula Kart Stars Championship as a youngster.

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“I’ve watched the championship on TV for years and it seems to get better every season, so I know I am joining a really talented grid.”

Thompson had several podium finishes in the MSA Formula Ford scholarship class last year, before a lack of sponsorship left him sidelined, and is grateful for the substantial scholarship support from Team HARD.

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“We’re obviously still working hard to secure extra sponsorship,” added Thompson, whose career is being guided by Plan B Racing’s Ben Snowdon.

“I’m also extremely grateful for the help Racehub at Brands Hatch have given me, but the fact that I know what I am doing already is a massive boost.

“I know which circuits I need to work on in the simulator and which elements of my fitness and training programme I need to pay particular attention to.

“The cars are very close in terms of pace to the British Touring Car machines and the 20-minute races are almost as long as the touring car races, so I need to be in peak physical shape for what will certainly be the toughest season of my career so far.”

Thompson joins Robert Cox and Damani Marcano in the Team HARD young driver development programme and is fully focused on earning more success.

“After my first meeting with (team principal) Tony Gilham I knew this is where I want to be,” said Thompson, who continues to support the Caudwell Children’s Charity through his racing activities.

“My manager made the initial approach to the team, but they already had me on their radar, which is a great feeling, and we were able to put the deal together very quickly after that.

“More and more young drivers are entering the championship and it is becoming one of the best proving grounds for the touring car stars of the future. With all the experience Team HARD has got of running in the BTCC I feel I have got a real shot at being one of the frontrunners.”

Tony Gilham added: “We’re thrilled to be working with Bobby. He has already shown so much potential and we can’t wait to let him loose in the GTI R and see just how fast he can be.

“The next phase of Team HARD’s racing strategy involved picking the brightest youngsters, supporting them financially in our scholarship programme and watching them flourish.

“We have been keeping an eye on Bobby’s career for a while now and from our first meeting we recognised his professional attitude and desire to win, both of which are critical for any driver to be considered as a Team HARD driver.”

The 2015 Milltek Sport Volkswagen Cup will enjoy television coverage on Motors TV and Channel 4 in the UK and also offers one of the best hospitality areas for drivers’ guests and sponsors in British motorsport.

As part of the British GT support package the Championship will visit some of Europe’s most famous race circuits, including Spa Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone and Brands Hatch in the UK.

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