British professional racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole (GB) and his RAM Racing team-mates finished in second place in the second round of the 24H Series, the 12 Hours of Italy, putting the #30 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 in the lead of the 2015 championship.
In his second race with the Silverstone Park-based team, the Milltek Sport and Casio Edifice-sponsored driver was once again joined by Adam Christodoulou (GB) and long-standing team-mate Paul White (GB), and together the trio set out to take overall honours in the 12-hour endurance race at Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, Italy.
Despite missing out on the race win, the team – which also finished in second place in the season opener, the 24 Hours of Dubai – got off to a great start, qualifying in third for the race thanks to a solid session from Onslow-Cole.
“After leading the majority of the session it was a bit of an anti-climax to be knocked down the order on the last lap of the 45-minute session,” commented the 27-year old from Surrey. “Still, we were at the right end of the grid and in a great position for the race.”
The 12-hour enduro was split into two sessions – four hours on Friday afternoon and eight hours on Saturday – and, by the end of session one, the team was in the lead with a near full tank of fuel and some relatively new tyres.
“The first session went perfectly,” commented Onslow-Cole. “Our strategy came through, we finished ahead of the pack, with good tyres and enough fuel to see us run a 45-minute stint in the opening of day two. Paul also managed to get a good run in the car – it was the first time he had raced the Mercedes so making sure he had a couple of hours of running in that first session was important.”
Once again starting the session, Onslow-Cole worked hard to get heat into the tyres despite the near freezing temperatures and, alongside Christodoulou and White, was battling it out for the lead for the first four hours.
However, just after the half-way mark, the team lost a lap and a half due to a queue at the fuel pump and a code 60 pit stop by the its nearest competitors, a gap it was unable to close despite impressive lap times by all three drivers and clever strategy by the engineers.
“We can’t say we were unlucky because we had a near perfect race,” he explained. “It’s just that the code 60s fell exactly when our competitors needed to pit and not when we did. At that point we went from being one second ahead to three minutes behind. But, that’s part of endurance racing – sometimes it goes your way, sometimes is goes someone else’s!
“The team at RAM Racing impresses me more each time I work with them. I know we all wanted the race-win but it’s great to be leading the championship going into the third round - the championship win is our ultimate goal.”