James Cole Croft 2013
James Cole has parted company with Team HARD with immediate effect (Photo: Kingsley Newman - KAN Photography)
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James Cole Parts Company With HARD

Team HARD driver James Cole has reportedly parted ways with the squad with immediate effect, half a season into his maiden British Touring Car Championship year.

The 24-year-old, formerly a Formula Ford champion in 2009, made a transition from open-wheel racing across to the BTCC for 2013 with Tony Gilham‘s squad in a Vauxhall Insignia.

The rookie has had a mixed campaign after five events, two 13th place finishes the best results of the year for the Drivecool-backed driver, but Cole has announced now that he has left Gilham’s squad, although remains fully committed to the opportunity to find a way into the BTCC once again for 2014.

Cole said in a statement with his sponsors: “This was a very hard decision to make, the BTCC is a great championship. I moved into touring cars this season and it was meant to be the first chapter of my education into driving a tin-top car, but I didn’t feel that I was getting any real grounding into the skills needed by working with Team HARD. That has led me to seek new opportunitues.

“My mechanics worked tirelessly, and I would like to thank them all for their efforts, but I felt that the best decision for my future would be to leave them”, he added. “I will now look for opportunities with other partners who share the same vision as me and those with the capabilty of giving me the tools and the experience I need to progress as a top-level touring car driver.”

The team have not yet stated a replacement as of this early stage in developments, Howard Fuller still awaiting his BTCC debut as the team continue preparing the squad’s second Volkswagen Passat.