Tom Onslow-Cole believes his new partnership with Team-HARD. can be a successful one as he prepares to spearhead their new in-house NGTC Volkswagen programme.
The popular Onslow-Cole is the first driver the Tony Gilham-run team has announced will drive one of their new Volkswagen CCs.
It was something of a surprise given his previous team West Surrey Racing‘s announcement to build and run NGTC BMW 1 Series, with many expecting him to stay put for another season having only rejoined them in 2012.
Nonetheless, Onslow-Cole says the move to Team-HARD. was the best option he had.
“I guess people weren’t probably expecting it but it’s the best move for my career and what I’m trying to do,” he told theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “A new car brings a new challenge and starting from afresh, having a good input all the way through makes it an exciting project.
“Looking at what’s gone on so far, the build of the car is by no means easy but there’s no reason why we can’t do a great job with the team around and roll out a good product.”
The CC joins two Vauxhall Insignias – one of which will be driven by 2012 Renault Clio Cup UK Champion Jack Goff – and an S2000 Honda Civic in the Team-HARD. stable, as the Kent team continues to expand its BTCC programme.
Despite the size of the task, Onslow-Cole says talk in his new team has only been about success – and is confident they can step up when things get tough.
“It’s so hard to judge [how we will fare],” he said. “I think at this moment, we’re all talking about winning, and that’s what the team’s focussed on doing. At the moment everything looks good and there’s no reason why that can’t happen. I’m sure as we get further into the build things are going to get tough but we’re all willing to do what it takes to put out a front-running car. And then the rest is down to me.
“The main focus right now is to get the cars done and get them done properly. In an ideal world we’d get loads of testing but realistically everyone’s got their hands full, so testing would be a luxury, although it is on the agenda.”
Onslow-Cole failed to win en route to sixth in the championship but turned in several strong performances in the eBay Motors BMW, including taking pole position at the season finale at Brands Hatch; what would be his final weekend with the team.
The decision to leave was not one he took lightly – with an agreement to race one of the new NGTC machines almost sorted.
“It was a very serious option,” he admits. “To be honest we were lining things up to go that way. But Tony approached us with his plans and after some pretty in-depth meetings, it was hard to say no after seeing everything that’s going on.
“I still think WSR are going to build a great car for next year and I wish them all the best with it.”
The focus is now very much on acclimatising himself with his new team – and it’s one he believes will be a perfect fit for himself.
“For me they’re a modern team – they’ve taken a fresh look on the motorsport business and not only are they dedicated to performing on-track, they’re focussed around off-track as well,” he explained.
“The profile of the team and their media prowess is gonna be something that goes through the roof this season. It’s a great pairing, we’re both bringing a lot to the table in terms of that.
“Together I think we’re going to create a huge package for everybody involved; it’s genuinely exciting.”