Howard Fuller will return to the British Touring Car Championship in 2013 behind the wheel of a Team-HARD prepared NGTC VW CC.
The youngster, who raced the team’s S2000 Honda Civic at Rockingham and Silverstone last season, will share the car with American Robb Holland, who drove the Civic at Snetterton and Knockhill.
Fuller impressed the team, with which he won VW Racing Cup races, and boss Tony Gilham said it was a natural step to reward him with the NGTC drive.
He told theCheckeredFlag.co.uk: “He raced for us in the VW Cup, he won at Rockingham and he got rewarded with a drive in the Civic. He did a great job and we gave him another drive at Silverstone. So we’re going to complete the story with him.”
Fuller will start and finish the season in the car while Holland is expected to drive at Snetterton and Knockhill again. While he does not have the budget for a full campaign, he said he was relishing the prospect of picking up where he left off last season.
“I’m really excited by it,” he said. “It’s obviously a big step for me. NGTC is the way forward, we’re in the same car as everyone else, and I think the car will be strong. I’m not going to take the opportunity for granted.
“We want to do all the races but we’re going to go on a race-by-race basis. It’s important for me to race in the championship. I think the car’s going to be strong and I think it’s going to be very special to see it out there. Having Tom alongside me will be a push for me, and it’ll be a massive buzz for us.”
His two outings in 2012 included a session-ending trip to the gravel in Rockingham qualifying and high-speed half-spin following contact with eventual champion Gordon Shedden at Silverstone. Gilham believes it is down to his team – and his new team-mate – to isolate the incidents and develop his on-track potential.
“He put on a good show last year,” added. “He’s very grounded, very professional, and he fit in well with the team. We have got a very young team, but alongside Tom Onslow-Cole, he’s gonna learn a lot.
“We’re looking to nurture him. We’re behind him. The BTCC is making a massive statement this year; I’m expecting a grid of about 30 cars. It’s gonna be a very, very strong season.”
Gilham said the likelihood of a third VW depended on “a couple of deals” coming off, but said if there was another on the grid it would be with another full-time driver.