Following an impressive maiden season this year, Michael Epps will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship grid in 2017 after signing a deal with Team HARD to compete in a Volkswagen CC.
Epps has continued his partnership with Team HARD into a third year following seasons together in the Volkswagen Racing Cup and then the BTCC, with the Hemel Hempstead racer producing a hugely promising first campaign in the UK’s premier racing championship.
Breaking into the top ten for the first time in only his third meeting in the series at Thruxton, Epps would go on to secure no less than seven outright points finishes across the season and a top ten finish in the Independents Trophy standings.
On top of that, Epps would also be a leading light in the Jack Sears Trophy for rookie drivers, stepping onto the BTCC podium at both Snetterton and Silverstone as the class winner; results that helped him take the class title battle down to the season finale.
After racing the ageing Toyota Avensis this year, Epps will get new machinery for 2017 in the shape of one of Team HARD’s newly-acquired Volkswagen CC’s, a model which has been a multiple race-winner in the series in recent seasons.
With the 2017 Swindon engine and the RML specification running parts, the Team HARD CC has the potential to be a very competitive package next season, with Epps setting his sights on more points results and podium finishes in his second BTCC campaign.
Alongside his racing, Epps will also be providing some exciting opportunities for sponsors and fans throughout 2017, with plans in place to run track experiences in both the touring car and VW Cup racers, as well as simulator events at Simply Race in Milton Keynes.
The 24 year old’s return to the pinnacle of UK motorsport comes thanks to the support of Team Hard, continued partners Anytime Fitness and Simply Race, and other backers that are to be announced in the near future.
Michael Epps: “You know, I was a little concerned about being a one season wonder in the BTCC, especially being such a tough season, but I’m glad I was able to make an impression and create a 2017 campaign out of it.”
“Tony (Gilham) has essentially opened the door for me to race in a championship I once never really considered as a possibility. Now we are set for year number two and I think we have a good chance to make a real impact.”
“As anyone would expect, with a small budget and a team that aren’t as experienced in my rookie season, there have been many challenges and I’m expecting there to be plenty more ahead too. The ingredients are there though; with the new cars and more people on-board I think we should be properly in the mix this time. We definitely outdid our equipment this year.”
“The deal is the right one for us at the end of the day. The team are passionate, they’re loud, and they want success. I have a great relationship with them and I think we’ve got what it takes, this will be the first time I’ve done a second season in any championship too.”
Tony Gilham (Team HARD principal): “We are very proud to have been able to put a package together to retain Mike for 2017. It is important for us to try to keep as much consistency with the team as possible and we have a great foundation on which to build on. He had a great season and we believe that next year will be very interesting to see how far up the grid Mike can get. His pace was outstanding last year and got nowhere near enough credit for his consistent front running lap times each weekend.