No less than six drivers will be fielded for Team HARD during the BTCC’s two-day Snetterton test, four of which will have their maiden taste of the NGTC Vauxhall Insignia.
Regular drivers Tom Onslow-Cole and Jack Goff will drive their Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia machines during the official test which begins on Tuesday, while Robb Holland, Howard Fuller, Warren Scott and Joe Girling will share the second Insignia left vacant by the recent departure of James Cole, who raced the car over the first half of the 2013 campaign.
American Holland raced for Tony Gilham’s squad in 2012 for two rounds with the team’s Honda Civic, and will be first to drive the second Insignia on Tuesday morning, while Fuller while take over in the afternoon, also having raced in 2012 with the team.
It will be Fuller’s long-awaited chance to get behind the wheel of an NGTC car, telling btcc.net: “It has been tough watching the action, but at the same time it has been good to be around the team throughout the season and the response from fans wanting to know about my plans has been great. This opportunity is most definitely a step in the right direction in preparation for getting out on the grid later in the season, which is the main thing. I am going to give it 100% at Snetterton and it’s something I am really looking forward to.”
Scott meanwhile will take over duties on Wednesday, the Team BMR Restart driver getting his first run-out with the team after racing an S2000 SEAT so far this year, before recently announcing a partnership with Team HARD for the latter half of 2013 to drive a second Volkswagen Passat.
Scott will then hand the Insignia over to possibly the team’s biggest surprise inclusion for the test, Girling, who has also been racing in the S2000-specification Jack Sears Trophy for the first half of the season, racing a Chevrolet Cruze for M247 Racing and picking up one class win during the final race at Donington Park back in April.
Girling recently suffered a qualifying crash at Croft that forced him to abandon the most recent round, but has been given a reprieve by HARD and Gilham as he will drive the NGTC Insignia on Wednesday afternoon, saying to btcc.net: “We’ve not had the reliability we were looking for from the Cruze this year. I had been looking at a couple of other S2000 options ahead of this test, but the timing was right when the opportunity to drive the Insignia came up.
“We’re going to get our sponsors and the rest of the team down to see what they think – obviously it’s my first time in an NGTC car and I can’t wait to see how it compares to the S2000. We’ll be testing the water on Wednesday – I like Snetterton and it used to be my home track, so we should be up to speed pretty quickly.”
The official Dunlop test is expected to get underway at 09:00 on Tuesday morning, the Snetterton 300 circuit of which it will take place at also being freely open to the public for the two-day outing.