British professional racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole made his Spa-Francorchamps racing debut this weekend (12 July) - in the fifth round of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship - and recorded the fastest lap of the two races in his Strata21 Milltek Sport-liveried Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
An impressive grid of 36 cars, including seven identical Aston Martin GT3s, the Blancpain GT Series championship-leading M-Sport Bentley, a trio of AF Corse Ferraris and the British GT Championship-leading BMW, started race one in mixed conditions that were typical of the Belgian circuit.
The damp track and drizzle in the air made all but a few of the teams head out on wet tyres. However, after completing the first of two formation laps, they pitted to change to slicks.
“It was a tricky call,” commented Onslow-Cole. “We, like almost all the other teams, decided to play it safe and go out on wets but the track dried so quickly that we took advantage of the extra formation lap and made the change. It reordered all the cars but it was the right choice for us to make.”
Onslow-Cole’s British GT Championship partner, experienced endurance racing driver Paul White (GB), started the race before handing over after 30-minutes.
On his third lap – lap 14 of the race – Onslow-Cole recorded a 2:22.9, the fastest lap of the race and a time that was unbeaten across two-hours of racing.
“I had great stint, the car was a pleasure to drive," commented Onslow-Cole. "During the 12-lap run I was able to take more than 20 seconds out of the lead car and set the fastest lap along the way.”  
In race two, Onslow-Cole started the race from fourth, thanks to a strong qualifying the day before. A good first run into Eau Rouge saw the 27-year old climb up to third and he and the two race leaders broke away from the rest of the pack before a safety car was deployed.
“Alexander [Simms], Wolfgang [Reip] and I all started to pull away and, before the safety car, I had a 15-second lead over fourth place. By this point, Toni [Vilander] in the AF Corse Ferrari was behind me and the safety car bunched us up again.”
At the restart, Onslow-Cole wasted no time in escaping the threat of Ferrari works driver Vilander and, by the pit stop five laps later, he had more than a four-second advantage.
White took over and a slightly prolonged pit stop lost the team’s third place position. A safety car for most of the session denied White the chance to regain the places and the team crossed the line in sixth.

“It was a shame about the safety car as I think the gap we had would have given Paul an easy run to the podium, but, hey, that’s how it goes,” concludes Onslow-Cole.
“The competition here is really strong – the championship is boasting some of the top GT drivers in the world and I’ve enjoyed every second of racing them around this awesome circuit.

"Our finishing positions could have been higher but on a personal note I’m very pleased with my performance and both Paul and I are confident going to Brands Hatch – it’s my favourite track in the UK and one I believe really suits the Aston Martin."
With two rounds of the championship remaining, Strata21 are in eighth place in the championship, with White sitting in sixth in the Blancpain Gentlemen’s Trophy.
The penultimate round of the championship takes place on 30/31 August at Brands Hatch GP circuit in Kent, UK. More information and tickets can be found