Bobby Thompson will graduate to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2018 after inking a deal to race for Team HARD.

Coming off the back of a hugely successful 2017 campaign where he was crowned Miltek Sport Volkswagen Cup champion, the 20-year-old will embark on his third season with Tony Gilham’s outfit in Britain’s premier race series.

Thompson is no stranger to BTCC machinery having already tested Power Maxed Racing’s Chevrolet Cruze in 2015, impressing at the annual Snetterton tyre test.

Having enjoyed a stellar season, Thompson admits the move to the BTCC is a dream come true, and one he intends to grab with both hands.

“I have had a fantastic year after winning the VW Racing Cup and now Team HARD has given me the opportunity to step up to the BTCC,” Thompson said on inking the deal. “I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s been my dream for as long as I can remember.

“I never had any intentions on trying to get to Formula 1 or anything like that, it’s always been touring cars and it’s always been the BTCC.

“It’ll be a big step up, I’m sure of that, but I think we’re ready for it – we know what to expect. We had a test last year at Snetterton and it was amazing how much more grip there was available than in the VW Cup car. It’s more demanding and I’m already working on my fitness.

“I’ve had three years with Tony really, starting back in 2015 in the VW Cup. I had a good year, finishing seventh or so in my first season then I topped it off last year coming into the BTCC as a champion.

“I’m so grateful to the team for making it possible and helping us to get on the grid and I’m pleased to have the chance to stay loyal. I can’t wait to get underway!”

Known for promoting young talent into the BTCC, Team Principal Gilham believes the time is right for Thompson to make his latest move up the motorsport ladder.

Gilham explained: “Bobby is an outstanding young talent and we’re excited to see how he fares against the top touring car drivers in the country. We have a very strong package and we are improving all the time as a team.

“He has already proven to us that he has what it takes to compete at the very top and it is great to have got this deal done very early to give us the maximum amount of time to prepare over the winter.

“It is a big step up but one that we believe he is more than ready for and have no doubt that he will do us proud.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography