Michael Epps is ready for the biggest race meeting of his career so far this weekend as he makes his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship debut in the opening rounds of the 2016 season at Brands Hatch.
Piloting his RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis amongst a potential capacity 32 car grid, the five-time VW Cup race-winner will be one of six drivers in contention for the Jack Sears Trophy, which is awarded to the top rookie driver over the season.
It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for Epps and the team since his step up to the BTCC was announced, with non-stop work at Team HARD’s base in Kent seeing them build the new car from scratch ahead of the opening rounds.
Epps’ 2016 challenger was officially unveiled last Tuesday (March 22) during the BTCC launch day at Donington Park, with the eye-catching green, pink and orange livery proving hugely popular with the fans in attendance.
While Epps didn’t get the chance to go on track that afternoon during the official test, the day gave him the opportunity to eye up the opposition trackside, as well as conduct a host of media interviews and photoshoots.
It will be a baptism of fire for Epps this weekend, with free practice one marking his first time on track in his new #12 Avensis, but the 24-year-old is ready for the challenge and looking forward to getting his BTCC career underway.
Epps said: “Ideally I’d be heading into my BTCC debut with a number of test days under my belt, but that hasn’t been possible with the late nature of our deal to get on the grid. That presents us with a challenge and we’re going to do the best job we can this weekend.
“The team have done an incredible job to get the car ready in such a short space of time and I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.
“Hopefully I can start to reward them this weekend with three solid finishes to get our season started.
“It’s going to be an incredible feeling pulling out of the garage for free practice one and taking to the track for the first time with some of the best touring car drivers in the world, but then we’ll to turn to business and I’m here to make an impact on the BTCC.”
The Brands Hatch season opener kicks off with Saturday’s two free practice sessions at 10:00 and 12:45, before qualifying later that afternoon at 15:40. The three races will follow on Sunday, all televised live on ITV4 and itv.com, at 11:32, 14:12 and 17:12.
If you want to go along and support Michael, tickets are available to purchase on the gate across the weekend at Brands Hatch.