Mike Bushell will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2018 after inking a deal to join Team HARD.

Clinching a second Renault UK Clio Cup title this year in dominant fashion, Bushell will rejoin the BTCC ranks to pilot a Volkswagen CC for the Independent squad.

The Tunbridge Wells racer last competed in the series in 2015 with AMD Tuning, taking a best finish of 11th at the wheel of a Ford Focus before going on to finish 23rd overall.

Following two years away, Bushell admits he is relishing having a second opportunity to compete in Britain’s premier race series with Team HARD and Brisky Racing.

“I am ecstatic to be returning to the BTCC having notched a second UK Renault Clio Cup title,” said Bushell. “On top of that, I am excited to be making my return with Team HARD and Brisky Racing as they have been going from strength to strength.

“With the new technical input from Geoff Kingston, coupled with an already proven race-winning car in the Volkswagen CC, I firmly believe that a strong challenge can be made for the Independent Drivers’ title next year.

“However, the partnership extends beyond the on-track potential and into the infrastructure the outfit has at hand to help me forge a long career in the BTCC.

“I am itching to get out on track and in the car for our first test and build a strong relationship with everyone. The team has pulled out all stops to help me return to the BTCC grid and I look to reward them with some great results.”

Team HARD Team Principal, Tony Gilham, added: “We are really looking forward to working with Mike next year. We have a very competitive package for 2018 and have been in discussions to secure talented drivers.

“We now have the ability to fight with the best on the grid, so we’re looking to secure only those that have shown outstanding race craft. Between myself and Richard (Wheeler) we have put a great package in place to bring Mike back to the BTCC at a time when we can mount a strong challenge.”

Bushell is the second driver to be confirmed by Team HARD for the 2018 campaign, joining Volkswagen Cup racer Bobby Thompson with a further two seats still to be filled.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography