Tom Onslow-Cole will return to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) in a surprise three round stint as he is set to rejoin Team HARD Racing starting at Thruxton.
Onslow-Cole will replace rookie Ollie Brown who sustained injuries at Oulton Park which saw him unable to take to the track at Knockhill on the subsequent weekend. Now he will be replaced by the International GT Open champion for the next three rounds at Thruxton, Silverstone and Croft.
The 33-year-old previously raced for Team HARD Racing giving the Volkswagen CC which is soon set to be retired its debut in the series, scoring the first podium at the next track Thruxton as well as taking two further.
Further pedigree in the series comes as a proven winner with seven in all and 36 podiums from 2007-2013 but barring a two-day tyre test back in 2018 – he has not been involved in the BTCC since then.
“I’m super excited to be stepping back into the BTCC and reuniting with some old friends at Team HARD Racing,” Onslow-Cole said. “The team has grown enormously since I last raced here, and I am grateful for this opportunity to come my way.
“I was lucky enough to debut the Volkswagen CC back in 2013 and even took the cars first podium at Thruxton of that season and when the team announced that they would be retiring the CC at the end of the season I thought to myself ‘it would be awesome to get one last go’. When Tony gave me the call, I jumped at the opportunity of getting back behind the wheel in the car’s final season in the BTCC, in what feels like a fitting end to its participation in the series.
“Naturally, it’s never nice to hear that a fellow driver has been injured whilst out on the track and I wish Ollie a speedy recovery from his injuries but I look forward to linking up with Jack once again after seven years, and meeting Nic (Hamilton), to extract the maximum out of the car.”
For team boss Tony Gilham, he admitted that retiring the car was an option but to give the Volkswagen CC a send off with a driver who brought it into the series, it proved a no-brainer.
“The world remains in a funny place at the moment and this BTCC season is proving to be no different,” he said. “As other teams and drivers have proved getting onto the grid for 2020 is very tricky and it would have been easy for us to retire the car until Ollie returns.
“Knowing that this will be the last season of the Volkswagen CC and for us to make the best of this situation I thought I’d give Tom a call and see what his plans were for this season. Despite commitments to other series for 2020, Tom was up for the challenge of getting back into the BTCC and fortunately for himself and the team he can commit to the next three race weekends.
“Tom’s racing record both in and away from the BTCC speaks for itself, and his achievements since he was last with us are remarkable. It’s a great achievement to acquire a driver of top pedigree at this stage of a very unique season of motorsport.”