Volkswagen Racing Cup champion Bobby Thompson will graduate to the British Touring Car Championship next season in a Team Hard VW CC.
Thompson, who took six wins on his way to the VW crown this year, has become the first driver to sign up for the team for 2018.
Team Hard, which is looking to expand in 2018, ran three VW CCs in this year’s BTCC for Jake Hill, Mike Epps and Will Burns.
Thompson, who raced with Team Hard in the British GT supporting VW series in 2017, said: “I have had a fantastic year winning the VW Cup and now Team Hard has given me the opportunity to step up to the BTCC.
“It had always been my dream to one day race in the BTCC. I am so grateful to the team.”
Team boss Tony Gilham said: “It [Thompson’s deal] is testament to the whole team and the unique concept that we have created, that enables us to be able to work with our drivers in this way and provide what is now the complete ladder all the way to the top level of British motorsport.
“In what is a very tough industry, what we have makes it possible for racing drivers like Bobby to achieve their life long ambitions and more importantly with the same team.
“Bobby has already proved to us that he has what it takes to compete at the very top and it’s great to have got this deal done very early to give us the maximum amount of time to prepare over the winter.
“It’s a big step up but one that we believe he’s more than ready for and have no doubt that he will do us proud.”