Bobby Thompson (left) with Team HARD boss Tony Gilham. Photo: Plan B Racing

Hornchurch’s fastest teenager Bobby Thompson will join Britain’s best supported saloon car Championship in 2015 after signing with former British Touring Car outfit Team HARD as part of their burgeoning Young Driver Programme in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Racing Cup.

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

After making a sensational impression on his single seater debut during last year’s MSA Formula Ford Championship, the 2015 season gives the driver known throughout the racing paddock as ‘Bobby-T’ a chance to capitalise on his growing reputation as a star of the future whilst keeping him firmly on the path towards his ultimate goal of a drive in the British Touring Car Championship.

“I’m delighted to be joining Team HARD and the Volkswagen Racing Cup,” beamed Bobby, who enjoyed a glittering karting career in the Lewis Hamilton and Bernie Ecclestone backed Formula Kart Stars Championship before his move into car racing. “I’ve watched the VW Cup on TV for years and it seems to get better and better every season so I know I am joining a really talented grid.”

Following a frustrating 2014 season that saw the highs of several podium finishes in front of a live terrestrial TV audience in the MSA Formula Ford scholarship class to the lows of watching the second half of the season on the sidelines due to a lack of sponsorship, Bobby says the fact that Team HARD have pledged a substantial scholarship fund and that his plans for the new season are already set in stone will be a major help.

“We’re obviously still working hard to secure extra sponsorship,” says Bobby, whose career is now being guided by Plan B Racing’s Ben Snowdon. “I am also extremely grateful for the help that Racehub at Brands Hatch have given me but the fact that I know what I am doing next year already is a massive boost as 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.”

Bobby will join fellow young guns Robert Cox and Damani Marcano in the Team HARD young driver development programme and while the BTCC remains the ultimate goal, Bobby’s sole focus is success in the Volkswagen Racing Cup.

“After my first meeting with (team principal) Tony Gilham I knew that this is where I want to be,” says 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, Team Principal commented, “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.”


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