Hemel Hempstead racer Michael Epps has confirmed a shock last-minute switch to race in this year’s British Touring Car Championship.
Epps takes the final seat in the RCIB Insurance Racing line-up alongside new team-mates, Jake Hill and Chris Smiley.
This late change is just one of many developments to the Team Hard squad, who have now expanded over the winter to three BTCC cars, four drivers in British GT, and a number of drivers on board in the VW Racing Cup, VAG Trophy and the Fiesta Junior Championship.
With wins in USF2000 over in America in 2014 and having won five VW Racing Cup rounds last year with the team, Epps is looking to make a firm impression during his debut BTCC season.
“It’s still kind of sinking into the system here that I’m actually going to be on the BTCC grid,” said Epps.
“I could only dream of this at one point, but when an opportunity presented itself we decided to work at it to make it happen. Now, here we are!
“I’m honestly so excited, I’m massively grateful to RCIB for helping us to make this happen. I can’t wait to be raring up the track to Paddock Hill at Brands on that first weekend of April, although we have a hell of a lot of work ahead of us before then.”
The coming season will also be something of a reunion for Epps, having previously raced many current BTCC drivers including Tom Ingram, Jack Goff, Ashley Sutton and Chris Smiley in various karting championships.
“It’ll be great to be back on track with a few drivers I’ve previously had a rivalry with,” said Epps. “I used to be neck-to-neck with all of them at points and so it would be good to make new sparks from old.
“I think it’s fair to say that I may be disadvantaged to begin with in comparison, given my lack of touring car laps and the team being somewhat new and fresh.
“Mind you, I’ve had a brilliant end to my 2015 season and seem to have taken to these type of cars well. So, provided everything works as we would like it to, I think we could do well!”
Epps thanked RCIB Insurance Racing, Team Hard, Panda Racing/Adidas, Anytime Fitness and Simply Race for their support ahead of the 2016 season.
The first event for Epps will be the BTCC Launch on March 22 at Donington Park, followed by the first three races at Brands Hatch Indy on April 3.