In a shock twist of events, Tom Onslow-Cole will now race a third Airwaves Racing Ford Focus for the final three rounds of the 2013 season, in a week of ups and downs for the 26-year-old.
The move makes Motorbase Performance the sixth BTCC squad that Onslow-Cole will compete with in his seven seasons within the sport, and he will contend the final three meetings at Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch in an NGTC Ford Focus alongside Aron Smith and Mat Jackson.
Perenial BTCC front-runner Onslow-Cole recently announced he would not be completing the current season having raced with Team HARD in a Volkswagen Passat all year, claiming three podiums in the new machine before stepping down before this weekend’s round at Rockingham as it was felt that conducting testing during race weekends was not ideal.
Onslow-Cole had signed a long term deal with Tony Gilham’s HARD squad, but he said this had now been negated by his new switch.
A delighted Onslow-Cole said: “Wow, it’s been an emotional week of ups and downs but this news is fantastic. I’m so happy to be back on the grid and I am ever thankful to David [Bartrum] and everyone at Airwaves that made this possible.
“Motorbase are a great team and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the Ford Focus NGTC. Unfortunately there isn’t the chance to test before Rockingham but with the help of Mat, Aron and the team I’m sure I’ll get up to speed quickly.”
Onslow-Cole’s participation sees Airwaves Racing’s third NGTC Ford Focus – driven by Michael Caine at Croft – return to the BTCC fray for the remaining rounds of the season, and team boss David Bartrum admitted the swoop for Onslow-Cole may give Motorbase one of the strongest driver line-ups for the conclusion of 2013.
Bartrum said: “We’ve been approached by quite a few people in regards to the third NGTC car, and I wanted to put it out for the right type of driver. To suddenly find Tom available was both quite a shock and at the same time a nice surprise as he’s the perfect fit with our team.
“I am over the moon that I’ve been able to put together what could be possibly be the strongest driver line up in the BTCC.”
The arrival of the seven-time BTCC winner is welcoming to the Kent squad after a soul-searching season thus far, Bartrum concluding: “It’s been a tough year for our team. The drivers and team have had to work quite hard and I think that the team can only benefit from adding Tom to our line up. I’m now really looking forward to Rockingham and getting some good results.”