Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship rookie James Cole is expecting a tough challenge in his maiden season but is ready to play the long game.
The former Formula Ford champion makes his front-wheel drive, tin top debut with Team-HARD. this year and says the record field makes it the “best and worst” time to be a rookie.
Cole will drive one of the Kent team’s NGTC Vauxhall Insignias but with the team opting not to bring their cars to the media day today (Thursday) at Donington Park preparation has not been ideal.
And while he is no stranger to racing wheel-to-wheel Cole admits there will be a steep learning curve because of the “quality” opposition.
“Hopefully the car will be quick,” he told theCheckeredFlag.co.uk. “Every team has teething problems and we will be no different. I have every faith the car will be good.
“I’ve got to learn to drive front-wheel drive but this isn’t a one year thing. I genuinely don’t know how this will play out. I’m not going to be right at the front straight away because of the quality of the opposition but my mid-season I’d like to be competitive.”
Despite not driving on the day Cole did have something to show off – his Drivecool initiative, which he hopes the BTCC, and it’s newly-extended tv deal with ITV, will show off.
In return for “pledging” to drive safer, and to be more aware as a pedestrian, members of the public will be entered into a draw where 20 will get the chance to drive the Insignia at the end of the season.
“I was hit by a car at 11,” he explained, “and suffered serious head injuries. I was off school for a year.
“I’m not going to preach to people. We’re just asking for an e-mail address and to take on board the message of driving safely.”