GILHAM BACK ON TRACK FOR SILVERSTONE VOLKSWAGEN RACES
Tony Gilham and his Team HARD Golf GTI. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com
BTCC team boss Tony Gilham is to return to the track this weekend (25/26 May) at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit at the wheel of one of his Team HARD Golf GTIs. The former Volkswagen Racing Cup champion will be dusting off his crash helmet to contest the latest rounds of the APR-backed series.
Gilham, 34, will be hoping to enjoy the same sort of success he did on his last appearance in the championship – he won at Spa-Francorchamps last July, on what was his last proper competitive appearance at the wheel.
“I’m very rusty,” says Gilham. “Other than a shakedown in a BTCC car at the end of last season, I haven’t really done anything since Spa. It’s a very competitive grid with a lot of ex-champions in there. I’m just looking to have an enjoyable weekend on a circuit that I haven’t driven before; I’m not expecting miracles.”
Tony, who is running a Volkswagen Passat in British Touring Cars for Tom Onslow-Cole as well as a quad-Golf team in the VW Cup featuring young hot-shots Tom Barley, David Sutton and Andy Wilmot, adds: “Team HARD has some quick young drivers and I want to help them put on a good show.” Gilham expects to be handing the Golf back after Silverstone to its regular pilot, racing newcomer Graham Perkins.
Gilham will be one of three former champions on the grid at Silverstone, joining 2004/’05 title winner Philip House (Scirocco) and the ’08/’09 champion Joe Fulbrook, who leads the championship following his race win last time out at Rockingham at the wheel of his new Golf GTI. If Fulbrook can pull off another win this weekend it will put him on top in the championship’s all-time race victory league.
Other championship returnees expected this weekend include Jack Walker-Tulley, who will take over the Walker family Golf GTI raced at Oulton Park and Rockingham by his cousin and reigning champion James Walker, and former bike-racing champion Craig Milner, who has entered his SlideSports-prepared Golf GTI.
Fulbrook’s running mate in the AWM/Warranty Holdings team, Aaron Mason, will be hoping to maintain the run of form in his new Scirocco which has brought him wins at both Oulton and Rockingham, and with them championship second. Round two victor, Ross Wylie, will be in action also in his SlideSports Scirocco.
Another Scirocco driver, Martin Depper, made a stylish championship debut last year at Silverstone, scoring twin wins, and returns in the same KPM-run car this weekend looking to claim his first victory of the season. His team-mate, Stewart Lines, was a career-best second last time out.
A brace of top-six finishes at Rockingham provided an encouraging seasonal debut for 17-year-old Henry Gilbert, and the motorsport student will be looking for more at Silverstone with his family-prepared Mk VI Golf.
Also expected on the 27-car grid will be SEAT Leon racer Peter Wyhinny, championship top-15 men Philip Morris (Golf), Alex and Didge Dziurzynski with their Corrado and Mk IV Golf, and Golf racers Jim Cartwright and Simon Tomlinson.