TEAM HARD ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP WINNER OLLIE BROWN FOR 2020 CAMPAIGN
RCIB Insurance Racing scholarship winner Ollie Brown will partner Jack Goff for the Kwik Fit Britsh Touring Car Championship, as Team HARD Racing announces Mike Bushell’s withdrawal from the 2020 campaign.
Brown won the scholarship – run by Team HARD Racing – having never entered a competitive car race before.
The team has been working hard to develop the Volkswagen CC, which demonstrated an improvement in pace during the second half of the 2019 season, highlighted when the squad took its first-ever BTCC win at Silverstone.
“To say I’m overwhelmed with joy is an understatement,” said Brown. “I have been watching the BTCC as a fan for the last 20 years, whilst working with some past and current drivers as a driver coach, and I’m buzzing to join them on the track this year.
“This opportunity would never have been possible without my best friend of 25 years entering me into the RCIB Insurance Racing scholarship last year; a shot in the dark has become one of the best moments of my life!
“I cannot wait to get started. Naturally, I’m gutted for Mike (Bushell) and Howard (Fuller) and I wish them all the best.
“I would like to thank Tony and the team for having faith in me for this season and will be going out there to give as good as I get. Bring on Donington!”
Mike Bushell who recently recovered from Myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle – was set to miss the opening three rounds of the season pre-lockdown due to the illness. The nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic had looked to buy Bushell some time but with the economic complications of COVID-19, he looks set to miss out again in 2020.
“I’m gutted to have been dealt two blows this year, firstly ill health followed by the economic implications of COVID further delaying the start of my season,” said Bushell. “It really feels that with these two unforeseeable situations that it just wasn’t to be for me in 2020.
“I must say thanks to Tony (Gilham) and the team for getting me out in the car at the recent tyre test and also delaying this decision for as long as realistically possible to see how things unfolded on my side.
“I’d like to wish Ollie good luck for the season ahead, he seems a very talented and capable driver and I’m sure he will be right in the mix throughout the season. For me, it’s time to focus on my family and business as we start to recover from lockdown.”
“This is a bittersweet announcement for me,” said Team HARD Racing Managing Director Tony Gilham. “I’m gutted for Mike and Howard who have been fantastic for the team for a number of years now.
“On the other hand, Ollie is a fantastic replacement to drive the RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport car this season and I’m proud that my team have been able to source a replacement and not just withdraw the car. Ollie was among a very competitive scholarship programme in January – he stood top of the pile and was magnificent throughout.
“I have full confidence that nobody will be doubting our faith in Ollie by the end of the season. Within the industry, he is well known and has the potential to mix it with the best in the business.
“To get to this point, Ollie has taken multiple wins and podiums over the last month as he has worked to get the required license to race in the BTCC against some very respectable opposition. He is a real dark horse for this season and certainly one to watch”
Brown’s preparation to take part in the championship has seen him in multiple events since racing resumed, as well as test days in the Team HARD Racing VW CC ahead of this weekend’s (1/2 August) Donington Park curtain-raiser.