OC TO RACE IN 'BACK GARDEN'

Tom Onslow-Cole will enjoy the comfort of his own bed, this race weekend, as the Blancpain Endurance Cup heads to Silverstone for the only British race in his 2016 calendar.
 
Returning from 12H Zandvoort, where he took pole position in the RAM Racing Mercedes AMG GT3, the Milltek Sport-supported driver is looking forward to getting back into the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3 and driving on the track that is in his 'back garden'.
 
“Despite living a stone’s throw from Silverstone Circuit, I’ve only actually raced on the GP circuit twice. I know the five turns of the National Circuit like the back of my hand, how hard can the other 13 be?! Joking aside, everyone knows the GP Circuit – it’s one of those stand-out iconic tracks."

OC will race one of four Bentley Continental GT3s on the grid of more than 50 GT3 cars from premium manufacturers including Aston Martin, Mercedes, Porsche and Lamborghini. 
 
“I can’t wait to get on-track. The Bentley Continental GT3 has a strong history on the Silverstone GP circuit. Whether it’s the good aero package or the push of the home crowd, it always does well here. In fact it won the Blancpain Endurance Series race here in 2014, so we all have high expectations upon us.”
 
The three-hour race starts at 1500hrs on Sunday 15 May and will be live streamed at www.blancpain-gt-series.com.  

ONSLOW-COLE KICKS OFF BENTLEY CAMPAIGN

Tom Onslow-Cole's debut Blancpain Endurance Series championship gets underway this weekend in Monza, Italy, and the Bentley Team Parker Racing professional says that he must be on top form right from the word 'go' in what is his most important GT season yet.
 
Switching to GTs in 2014, OC has had a lot to learn in two seasons, but he quickly proved that he had what it takes by getting overall podiums in the British GT Championship, Dubai 24 Hours, 24 Hours of Paul Ricard and Barcelona 24 Hours.
 
This success earned him a seat in the new-for-2016 Bentley Team Parker Racing Continental GT3 and a place on the centre stage – Blancpain Endurance Series – the world's largest and most competitive GT championship.
 
"There's no slack in this championship; every race, every position, every lap is hard-fought," the Milltek Sport-supported driver commented. "Although I'm known by many in the paddock, it's my first full Endurance Series season and I'm looking to make a good first impression. Have a great opening race and, within such a busy grid, you could go unnoticed, but make a mistake and your copybook is blotted forever."
 
Having tested in the Continental GT3 at Portimao and Monza, OC, who has recently been re-signed as a Rockstar Athlete for 2016, is confident that he is in a car that can win the championship. In fact, he believes that, alongside fellow Brits Callum Macleod and Ian Loggie, they have one of the strongest line-ups in the Pro-Am class.
 
"Ian is an extremely quick Am driver," he explained. "And, in this class, that is often where the biggest gains can be made. The Pro drivers are usually within tenths of each other but Ian can go seconds faster than some of his competitors. He and Callum make a great team and they've really welcomed me in. I think the three of us will be a formidable force.
 
"This isn't about any one of us going out there and trying to be heroes," he added. "It's about having a quick and clear run and handing over the Continental GT3 to your team mate in the best possible position and condition. If we all do that, we should win races and build a strong championship campaign."
 
The opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series from Monza takes place on 24 April and fans can watch live from 3pm CET (2pm UK time) at www.blancpain-gt-series.com.

OC ADDS BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES TO 2016 SEASON

Tom Onslow-Cole (GB) adds the Blancpain Endurance Series to his 2016 calendar, as Bentley Team Parker Racing signs him to drive its new Continental GT3 alongside Ian Loggie (GB) and Callum Macloed (GB).
 
Although he has contested Spa 24 Hours for the last two years, this is OC’s first full season in the Blancpain Endurance Series, which was a major goal for the Rockstar Energy Drink Athlete who switched to GT racing in 2014.
 
“Blancpain Endurance Series is the largest GT series in the world and has fast become a main focus of manufacturers, drivers and teams,” he commented. “The level of competition is ‘off the scale’ and, as a GT3 specialist, it’s the main stage to play. I’m no stranger to the series, I’ve had some great times and got good experience racing in Spa 24 Hour, but I’m looking forward to making the paddock my home rather than a naughty weekend away in July!"
 
Team Parker Racing signed a deal with Bentley at the end of 2015 to see the British preparation team run the Continental GT3, which has won races in the Blancpain Endurance Series, plus finishing second in the championship for the last two years.
 
“The Continental GT3 is an impressive machine,” he continued. “Before you even drive it you can see the quality and thought that has gone into the design. In my first few laps of the car it was very easy to get up to speed; the car inspires confidence. Year-on-year, since the car’s launch, it has been battling at the front with the support of Bentley and M-Sport and this is a trend we’d love to continue.”
 
The Milltek Sport test driver tested the 4.0-litre machine at Portimao earlier this month and impressed team boss Stuart Parker.
 
“We were looking for a quick silver to join Ian and Callum so invited Tom to test with us. Although he’d never driven the Continental GT3, he was quick out of the box and set impressive laps times. Pair that with his fantastic attitude and we knew he had found our driver.”
 
OC is quickly making his name in GT racing following a season in the British GT Championship in 2014 and a championship title in 24H Series in 2015, following podiums at each of the six rounds and a win in the 24 Hours of Paul Ricard.
 
“I’m pleased with how my switch to GT racing is going, it’s amazing how separate the various disciplines in motorsport are. As a driver, not only are you learning new machinery, distances and strategy, but you also need to grow your network to get onto the teams’ radars to be in-line for new opportunities – Gaymor Price Management have been extremely helpful in this respect. Blancpain Endurance Series was a target in my three-year plan and I’m pleased to be on-track."
 
OC was careful not to take the first opportunity that came his way but wait for one that he felt gave him the best opportunity to take race and championship wins. Team Parker Racing scooped the Am Cup drivers’ title and came second in the teams’ title in 2015 so he knew they had what it takes.
 
“I’ve been extremely impressed with Bentley Team Parker Racing, they are a well organised and welcoming team. They’ve run at the front of everything they’ve tried, so I guess the pressure is on us! We’re totally prepared for the official Blancpain GT Series test next month, Paul Ricard is a brilliant facility and I’m looking forward to seeing who we’re up against for the season ahead.”
 
OC adds the Blancpain Endurance Series to his 24H Series championship title defence with RAM Racing in its Mercedes AMG GT3, which continues with the 12 Hours of Italy on 18th March. 

OC TO RACE AT SPA 24 HOURS

Tom Onslow-Cole will race in the centrepiece of the Blancpain Endurance Series, Spa 24 Hours, next month (25 July) in the Leonard Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and the young GT ace reckons a class win is on the cards. 

The 28-year old is no stranger to the 7km-long Circuit de Spa Francorchamps as he set fastest lap in the British GT Championship race and impressed in Spa 24 Hours with his incredible night stint last year. 

This year, the Milltek Sport-sponsored Brit is back and will race alongside Aston Martin Racing works driver Stefan Mücke (DE), team-owner/driver Stuart Leonard (GB) and Leonard Motorsport regular Michael Meadows (GB), in a line-up that OC thinks could take the Pro-Am class win. 

"When you look at the entry list it's a 'who's who' of the world's top GT drivers but I think together our line-up is one of the strongest," OC commented. "Stefan has put it on pole here in this race and Stuart and Michael have taken a Blancpain class win together alongside Paul Wilson already this year."

Leonard Motorsport's Paul Wilson will sit this round of the championship out as his wife is due to give birth on the day of the race. 

"Obviously, it's a shame that Paul has to miss out on this race," OC commented. "But, I'm really grateful that he chose me to take his place and I wish him and his wife all the best for their new arrival."

OC who will join the team at tomorrow's official Spa 24 Hours test also thinks that the Vantage GT3 is an ideal car to contest the race. 

"It's no secret that the Vantage GT3's top speed isn't as fast as some of the other cars but overall it's ideal for a track like Spa with its series of medium- to high-speed corners," the Casio Edifice driver added. "Some of the quicker cars don't have the reliability of the Aston Martin either and that's vital for a 24-hour race. 

"We've seen the Vantage GT3 on the podium at Dubai 24 Hours, Daytona 24 Hours and Bathurst 12 Hours already this year so it has a proven track-record. I think we can add to that tally if we have a clean race and stay out of trouble in the hours of darkness."

This addition to his calendar brings OC's total number of 12- and 24-hour races in 2015 to eight. With four endurance podiums already under his belt this year, he hopes to continue his run of success at Spa 24 Hours.

Spa 24 Hours starts at 1630 local time on Saturday 25 July. 

TOC TRIPLES AT SPA

Despite finishing Spa 24 Hours at the 16-hour mark due to a mechanical issue, British professional racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole came away from his weekend in the Aston Martin Racing-run V12 Vantage GT3 with an impressive run of lap times and a triple night-time stint that saw them rise to 16th.

The 27-year old from Surrey arrived at the second of his three 2014 24-hour races with confidence high. Just two weeks earlier he impressed at the British GT Championship round held at the 7km long Spa-Francorchamps circuit, setting the fastest lap of the two one-hour races.

Now back at the track, Onslow-Cole began the first of two qualifying sessions for Spa 24 Hours in the PGF-Kinfaun V12 Vantage GT3, with his sights set on the top-20 SuperPole shoot-out.

“The top 20 cars go into the SuperPole shootout and that’s where I wanted to be,” commented Onslow-Cole. “In the pre-qualifying session I was up in the top 20 and I felt like there was more to come ahead of qualifying.

“With 62 cars and 220 drivers it was always going to be difficult to get a clear run in qualifying. Although we improved by over a second, the traffic was enough to cost us those vital tenths to see us through into the top 20. Still, it’s a 24 hour race so 31st could still lead us to a strong result.”

On Saturday, the GT3 cars lined up on the grid and at 16.30 the green flag waved for the start of the race. Onslow-Cole started a stint that saw him fighting for places in the busy and highly-competitive field of the top GT drivers in the world.

“The first stint was crazy,” commented the Milltek-Sport sponsored driver. “Drivers were willing to put everything on the line for some very small gains. For me the objective quickly became survival and making sure I handed the car over fit to take on the next 23 hours.”

After just over an hour, Onslow-Cole handed the V12 machine over to regular team-mate Paul White (GB), who, in turn, handed over to Phil Dryburgh (GB) and then John Gaw (GB).

After dinner and some sleep, Onslow-Cole prepared for his nighttime stint, which took place from midnight until 3am.

“I was pleased with my nighttime stint,” he continued. “I was consistently in the top-five lap times throughout the three hours and we even managed to double stint the Pirelli tyres, something I believe the other teams were struggling to do.”

Having made up several positions, Onslow-Cole completed his three-hour stint and handed over the Casio Edifice-liveried car to Paul White in 16th place and 10th in class.

After double stints from White and Dryburgh, Onslow-Cole was back in the car but, at around 08.00, the car lost drive and he was advised to turn off the engine and retire the car.

“If I could have got the car back to the garage, I know the Aston Martin Racing team could have got us back out but I was on the outside of turn one and there was no way I could make it all the way back around to the pit entry.

"All-in-all, it was a great experience and I'm pleased with my performance. I can't wait for Barcelona 24 Hours, now."

TOC TO TAKE ON TOTAL SPA 24H

British professional racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole will participate in the TOTAL Spa 24 Hours in an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 next weekend (26/27 July) following a successful outing at the track last weekend (12 July).

In the fifth round of the British GT Championship held at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, Onslow-Cole – in the Milltek-Sport-liveried Strata21 V12 Vantage GT3 – recorded the fastest time of the two one-hour races in just his third race lap of the 7km-long track.

He will now contest the centerpiece of the Blancpain GT Series, the TOTAL Spa 24 Hours, in the PGF-Kinfaun Vantage GT3 alongside John Gaw (GB), Phil Dryburgh (GB) and regular team-mate Paul White (GB).

Spa 24 Hours is considered one of the top endurance races in the world and this year it boasts a grid of works teams and drivers from Aston Martin, Bentley, Nissan, Audi and Mercedes, as well as the top customer teams competing in BMWs and Porsches.

“The grid is extremely competitive and this is probably one of the biggest races of my career so far - the pressure is on,” he comments. “After a successful weekend at British GT, I’m confident the pace is there, but making it through a 24 hour race is a totally different challenge, one I’m ready to take on with my team-mates."

The team will contest the Pro-Am class of the race and, although outweighed by the competition in their Pro to Am ratio, Onslow-Cole is hugely positive about this opportunity.  

“Phil and Paul are both safe hands and are among the top Am drivers in the UK," he adds. "Paul is extremely experienced in endurance racing and that will be invaluable during the 24-hour race.

“John is a fantastic team-mate for me to have – he’s really quick on-track and his strategic expertise is something I’m looking to absorb.”

Although racing together at Spa 24 Hours, Onslow-Cole and Gaw are in rival teams in this season’s British GT Championship. But, it's not the first season the pair has raced against each other; they both contested the Renault Clio Cup together back in 2005, the year before Tom won the championship by a record-breaking 119 points aged 19.

“It’s great to be in the same car as Tom at Spa 24 Hours,” commented Gaw. “He’s done a great job in British GT so far this year and had an impressive run at Spa last weekend. We drove together in Britcar last year alongside Paul and made a strong team, so I’m sure we’re going to have a good weekend.”
 
The TOTAL Spa 24 Hours starts on Saturday 26 July at 16.30 local time.