Michael Epps has confirmed a shock last-minute switch to race BTCC in 2016, taking a seat in the #12 RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis alongside new teammates, 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, a number of drivers onboard in VW Racing Cup, VAG Trophy, the Fiesta Junior Championship and some karting drivers, too.
With wins in USF2000 over in America in 2014 and having won five VW Racing Cup rounds last year with his touring car team, Epps is looking to make a firm impression in 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! I could only dream of this at one point, but when an opportunity presented itself we worked at it to make it happen. Now, here we are! I’m honestly so excited, I’m massively grateful to RCIB for helping us out. 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 with rivals from his karting days, having previously raced many current BTCC drivers including Tom Ingram, Jack Goff, Ashley Sutton and now Chris Smiley in various karting championships including Stars of Tomorrow.
“It’ll be great to be back on track with a few drivers I’ve previously had a rivalry with; I've been wheel-to-wheel with all of them 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 though in comparison, given my lack of touring car laps and the team being somewhat new and fresh with cars currently being built. 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 put on a good show!"
Michael would like to thank RCIB Insurance Racing, Team Hard, Panda Racing/Adidas, Anytime Fitness and Simply Race for their support prior and towards the 2016 season.
Epps' first event will be the BTCC Launch on 22 March at Donington Park, followed by the first three races at Brands Hatch Indy on 3 April.
More info here
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