Jake Hill has become the latest driver to be confirmed in this year's Dunlop MSA Briish Touring Car Championship, with the announcement that he'll be joining Chris Smiley at RCIB Insurance Racing.
Hill, who has made three one-off appearances in the BTCC over the last four seasons, raced in the British GT Championship last season.
Hill and Smiley will both be racing a new spec Toyota Avensis. Smiley and team boss Tony Gilham have both tested the car recently.
Hill, the 2010 Ginetta Junior runner-up, made his BTCC debut in 2013, racing for Addison Lee Motorbase at Croft when regular driver Liam Griffin's wife went into labour. He was on the podium in his first race after winning in the Jack Sears Trophy category.
He returned to the championship later that season, replacing Will Bratt for the final three races at Brands Hatch. Last year he returned for the Brands Hatch finale, this time in the AmDTuning.com Audi A3, replacing Nic Hamilton.
The announcement was made via a video released this evening on social media, featuring Jake and Team Hard boss Tony Gilham.
“I am thrilled to have been given this amazing opportunity thanks to Tony Gilham at Team HARD, RCIB Insurance and of course our long-term supporters Sportif Motor Group and our other fantastic partners,” said Hill.
“I have loved the BTCC races I’ve competed in so far and I hope I can show what I can do with a full programme. I’m now gearing up for the Season Launch in a couple of weeks and testing.”
Team principal Tony Gilham has long been a fan of Hill’s and is effusive about the prospect of him joining the outfit.
“With Jake and Chris [Smiley], we have one of the most exciting pairings of young talent in the series,” said Gilham.
“As soon as it became apparent that we were in a position to run a second car, Jake was my absolute first choice. I really couldn’t have asked for a better line-up, and having seen how quick Jake is in everything he’s raced so far, it’s fantastic to finally have him as part of our family.”
Hill will begin testing at the BTCC Season Launch at Donington Park on 22 March, before further running prior to the curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch – home circuit for driver and team alike – over Easter weekend.
“Both the team and I are based in Kent so I know we will have lots of local support, especially from family and friends, which makes things even more special,” Hill said. “I really can’t thank everyone who has helped make this happen enough – I just can’t wait to get started!”
Managing Director of RCIB Insurance, Mike Joseph, said: “Jake is a great young prospect and we had many people asking us to help him get a drive. It’s exciting to be part of this reborn team, which we believe can surprise a few people this year and be competitive. We love working with the guys at Team HARD and have enjoyed working together since they first entered BTCC.”