Volkswagen Cup racer Tom Barley will be the latest Team HARD recruit for the final round of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship, driving the second Vauxhall Insignia at Brands Hatch.
The Team HARD scholar takes the reigns of the Insignia last driven by Howard Fuller at Rockingham and Silverstone, having impressed with the team with his development in 2013.
Barley tested the car at Snetterton in July, and will now step up to make his eagerly-awaited BTCC debut in this weekend’s season finale at Kent’s Brands Hatch circuit.
“The car is the most incredible machine I’ve ever driven and my two test days have gone really well,” said Barley. “I’ve loved every minute of it and I plan to do the same this weekend.
“Of course it’s important that it’s an enjoyable weekend for my guests and me but I also need to show what I can do. It will be a hard task but I’d love to score some points. It’s a toe in the water for 2014 so three solid races would be fantastic.
“I’m very very excited,” concluded Barley. “It has been my ambition to race in the BTCC for a long time so I just want to seize the opportunity. The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit is such a great track, plus it’s my local venue so I’ll have loads of family and friends there. It’s a circuit that requires full commitment, plus it’s fast and flowing like Spa. I seem to go well at places like that so I can’t wait to get out there.”
Team boss Tony Gilham added that the 26-year-old has a promising future in the sport, saying: “Tom is the full package – both in and out of the car – which you have to have now.
“Not only is he an extremely quick driver but he’s also a consummate professional and knows how to carry himself aside from racing. He has really progressed over the course of the year and deserves this opportunity.
“He was on the pace straight away last week, which was great. This is hopefully just the beginning for Tom, and what better way to showcase your talents to sponsors and investors than to race in the final rounds of the BTCC.”