Reigning Volkswagen Racing Cup champion Bobby Thompson will make his British Touring Car Championship debut next season after securing a drive with Team HARD for 2018.

Despite embarking on his BTCC debut, Thompson has already spent two seasons with Team HARD, the last of which resulted in the 20-year old taking the VW Cup title with six victories.

Having witnessed what his new BTCC signing was capable of in the VW Cup, Team HARD boss Tony Gilham is confident Thompson 'is more than ready' to make the step up in 2018.

"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," said Gilham.

"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."

Although the 20-year old is yet to race in the BTCC, Thompson does have previous experience of the series after taking part in last year's Snetterton tyre test in a Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze.

Thompson added: "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. 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."