Team HARD has completed its purchase of a Toyota Avensis along and a TOCA BTCC licence, with Kieran Gallagher driving for the upcoming season.

Team boss Tony Gilham has confirmed he already has plans to expand the operation and is delighted to have Gallagher drive for the Kent-based team. The 24-year-old driver has completed one round of BTCC in 2013, notching up a points-scoring finish with Gilham's team.

"This is a very exciting development for us and we plan to be in the BTCC for many years to come," Gilham said. "Initially we will run the Avensis and we've seen glimpses of how quick the Toyota can be. We have a development programme planned, as well as the introduction of the TOCA control engine, so we feel you should see a marked improvement in results for the car."

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Team HARD initially joined BTCC in 2012 with a privately run S2000 Honda Civic. The outfit then entered two Vauxhall Insignias in the following season, as well as building and running two VW Passat CCs.

"I am over the moon to be fulfilling my lifelong dream of competing in a full BTCC season," said Gallagher. "After driving the Insignia for Team HARD at Knockhill in 2013, I made it my ambition to someday race again in the series - to do it with Team HARD is awesome.

"As soon as Tony offered me the chance to join them for their return, I immediately said yes and literally cannot wait to get going. I know this is a big jump, but at the same time I feel I can learn very quickly and will want to get up to speed and fight as high up the grid as possible. It will be a huge learning year but I am more than up for the challenge."