26th March 2021

Kent-based Team HARD. Racing completed the first shakedown of its CUPRA Leons at Brands Hatch earlier this week, with all four drivers enjoying a maiden run in the newly built machines. 

It was a hugely proud moment for Tony Gilham’s squad, having only announced the build programme in September last year, and recently unveiling the cars exclusively via Kwik Fit’s Facebook page. 

Hear what all four of our CUPRA drivers had to say about their first day of testing in the team’s new cars: 

Nicolas Hamilton: “Today was a very big day for the team and a huge day for me getting in my new car for the first time. I would say it was a little bit frustrating today like it has been with every new car that I’ve jumped into. I always have to fiddle with different modifications and the seat. When you do a seat fit and you’re sitting in a car that’s not moving, you feel good and comfortable. Then, when you get out on track and you’re going through all the motions and G-forces, you may notice some changes in comfort and my legs were affected quite a lot. Due to that, we had to make a number of changes to the car such as moving the seat and the peddles further back which was a bit of a pain.  

“I would say from the 15 to 20 laps that I did in the middle of the day that the car was amazing. It felt so different to the VW, it's just a bit of a shame that it always takes time for my legs to feel comfortable. 

“It’s back to the drawing board I would say for a few modifications and my seat fitting, but next time we’re out I should be comfortable and ready to go. From the team’s point of view, they’ve done a fantastic job. The car ran faultlessly with only a minor power steering issue which is going to happen on a shakedown. The car felt great and hopefully we will get to the bottom of this seat issue, which is mainly down to my condition, and we’ll go from there. All in all, I’m very happy with the team and the car!” 

Jack Goff: “It’s the end of my first ever day in the brand new CUPRA Leon and it was really positive. Obviously, it was meant to be a bit of an extended shakedown, but it turned out to be a full testing programme in the afternoon. Testament to the boys and girls at Team HARD., they’ve built a car that was reliable straight out of the back of the truck. It is a huge positive to tick off that reliability factor straight away.  

"There are a few bits I need to change to suit me inside the car, but it ran faultlessly all day so that’s a massive tick. We worked through a few set-up changes in the afternoon and ended the day somewhere near so that’s another positive. It’s looking really good and hopefully we can keep progressing. This team has come a long way since I returned in 2019 and I can’t wait to see what the 2021 season brings.”  

Glynn Geddie: “Today was a good day. We really wanted to just use it to get the cars running and to get used to them and we ended up getting a little bit of testing in there as well which was beneficial. Credit to the guys at Team HARD., the car ran seamlessly. 

“I think the real test will be when there are all four cars on the track, and we can collect the data from everybody and try a lot of different things to maximise performance. The car was responsive to the changes we made which is positive and I’m looking forward to getting out again next time."

Aron Taylor-Smith: “Today was really exciting. Day 1 of testing is always more of a shakedown where we see if the cars run properly. Even to finish with areas to work on around set-up is a very good place to be. To me, we are not a million miles away already. The chassis feels good and there are only one or two easy improvements to make. I know it will be a very quick piece of kit. 

“It feels weird being back in the BTCC but I’ve settled in really quickly. I did think it would take me a few more days and to already be on the pace is good. Just getting back into a touring car is really nice, I love driving them because they’re on the edge everywhere and it just feels good.” 

With initial mileage on the clock, the team will now continue with its test programme ahead of the opening rounds of the 2021 BTCC season at Thruxton on 8/9 May – LIVE on ITV4. © 2024
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