OC RETURNS TO THE 'RING

It was a long two weeks for Tom Onslow-Cole as he waited patiently to return to the Nürburgring for the second round of the VLN championship but his bags are packed and he’s ready to jump back aboard the Schubert Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
 
The opening round went well for the Rockstar Energy Drink Athlete who made his GT3 debut on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Dry weather and a trouble-free weekend gave plenty of running time for OC, who is signed as BMW factory drivers for the iconic Nürburgring 24 Hours in May.
 
“For me, the first race was about learning the car, the team and the track,” he explained. “There’s no point going out there and trying to be a hero in your first GT3 race on the Nordschleife. You have to give it the respect it deserves or it’ll chew you up and spit you back out!
 
“The weather was on our side in VLN1 and we got plenty of running, which I understand is pretty rare at this time of year. I don’t want to jinx it, but VLN2 is looking pretty sunny, too.”
 
The VLN championship is a nine-round series that takes place on the Nordschleife and teams use the opening two rounds to prepare for the world-famous Nürburgring 24 Hours. Earlier this year, BMW Motorsport signed OC to contest VLN1, VLN2, the Nürburgring qualifying race and, of course, the main event and placed him with race- and championship-winning team Schubert Motorsport. .
 
“I can’t wait to get back out there,” the LDNR Eyewear ambassador concluded. “It was incredible to drive the BMW M6 GT3 on the Nordschleife and I’ve been seriously impressed with BMW and Schubert Motorsport. In fact, I’ve not stopped grinning since I was hauled out of the car at the end of VLN1.”
 
VLN2 takes place at 1200 on Saturday 8 April. Fans can watch at www.vln.de or at
www.radiolemans.com and they can follow OC’s success on social media by searching @tomonslowcole.

OC SET TO MAKE BMW DEBUT AT THE 'RING

Tom Onslow-Cole is set to make his BMW factory driver debut, this weekend, as he and Schubert Motorsport head to VLN1; the opening round of the Nordschleife-based championship and the first of three warm-up races for the world-famous Nürburgring 24 Hours.
 
The 29-year old Rockstar Energy Drink Athlete, who has multiple 24-hour race wins and podiums under his belt, travelled to Paul Ricard, last month, to test the BMW M6 GT3 ahead of the start of his Nürburgring-only factory deal.
 
“I can’t wait to get back in the BMW M6 GT3, again,” he said after the test. “Everything I have seen from BMW, so far, has been very impressive – the car, the teams, the driver line-ups, for example. They do things properly and I think we have a good chance of success.”
 
With just two VLN race starts to his name, there is a lot to learn but OC feels that he’s as prepared as possible going into the four-hour race that takes place at midday on Saturday.
 
“The Nürburgring is a race track like no other on Earth,” the LDNR Eyewear ambassador commented. “Therefore, preparation will be key. I’ve spent a lot of time on the sim and studied plenty of on-board footage but I’m fully aware that this is no replacement for on-track experience – I just hope we get plenty of running this weekend.”
 
The first round of the VLN series often falls victim to the extreme and sometime unpredictable weather conditions in the Eifel region of Germany and, with snow, fog, hail and rain all common, sessions are frequently delayed.
 
“I’ve looked at the weather forecast for Saturday and it looks dry and sunny, but forecasts don’t mean a lot around there!” OC continued. “Of course, I need to drive it in the wet at some point but it would be good to do some dry-running first.”
 
For the 2017 season, the VLN championship has expanded to include English commentary with Radio Show Ltd. taking the microphones.
 
“It’s great that Radio Le Mans team will be covering the series,” OC added. “It means my English-speaking friends, family and sponsors can follow the action. As far as I’m concerned, it’s some of the greatest racing on Earth and the more people who get to enjoy it, the better!”
 
Fans can watch VLN1 at
www.vln.de and can follow OC’s success on social media by searching @tomonslowcole.

OC SIGNS AS BMW FACTORY DRIVER FOR NURBURGRING 24 HOURS

Tom Onslow-Cole has signed a deal with BMW Motorsport to contest Nürbrugring 24 Hours in a works-supported BMW M6 GT3.

The deal, which includes participation in VLN races that precede the twice-around-the-clock endurance race on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, will see the 29-year old Rockstar Energy Drink Athlete join one of their factory supported teams to race an M6 GT3 identical to the one he tested on Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst late last year.

“I drove the BMW M6 GT3 at Bathurst and it was incredible,” OC commented. “The high speed stability and all-around driveability made it very welcoming. As you’d expect from BMW, the M6 is very user-friendly and instinctive to drive and I really think this can make a difference in the Nürburgring 24 Hour race - after all, it’s quite well known for pitching a curve-ball or two.”

Multiple 24-hour race-winner Onslow-Cole may now be well-known for his endurance racing success but the Milltek Sport-supported star made a name for himself in the British Touring Car Championship and BMW was a brand that helped him put himself on the motorsport map.

“I won my first British Touring Car Championship race at the wheel of a BMW in 2007 so to join their Nürburgring factory programme ten years on is something quite special. I can’t wait to get back in their M6 GT3 on what is one of the most iconic tracks in the world. It will truly be an honour.”

The BMW Motorsport Nürburgring programme will sit alongside OC’s multi-championship GT race calendar, which will include more than 20 races in 2017. Details of these campaigns will be announced in the coming weeks.

OC TICKS-OFF N24 PERMIT AND TRAVELS TO BRNO

Tom Onslow-Cole has been granted his Nürburgring Permit A, meaning he is ready to race in the world-famous Nürburgring 24 Hours, and is now preparing for his fourth and final 24-hour race of the year at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic.

After setting the fastest qualifying time of all the Toyota GT86 CS-Cup entries, last weekend, OC started VLN9, the penultimate round of the Nürburgring Nordschleife series, in the #277 Milltek Sport-liveried machine. After five laps, he was awarded his Permit A but a mistake in the pits cost the team a class podium.

The GT3 racer, who has taken seven 24-hour race podiums since his switch to endurance racing in 2014, including a second place overall finish in Dubai 24 Hours and a win at Paul Ricard 24 Hours, is looking forward to adding Nürburgring 24 Hours to his 2017 programme.

“I want to get out there and race as much as I can,” he commented. “I have a list of events I want to be successful in and I’m ticking more off each year. I came into GT racing later than some of my peers but I’ve worked hard to get offered some fantastic opportunities, which have enabled me to catch-up with track knowledge and experience in a very short space of time.

“Nürburgring 24 Hours and Bathurst 12 Hours are on next year’s endurance racing hit-list, so this is one step closer to realising one of them.”

This weekend, OC will make his debut in the Scuderia Praha Ferrari 488 GT3 and aims to help the team retain its 24H Series race win from Brno last year. With the event doubling in length to a 24-hour race, it’ll be a challenge for the 35 entries, as temperatures are expected to drop to near freezing during the night.

“We tested at Brno, last week, and it was pretty cold,” OC said. “Last year, we weren’t allowed tyre warmers but they’ve introduced them, this year, which, I think, is a good move by Creventic. We came away from the test very prepared and happy as a team.

“It was my first time in the Ferrari 488, so it was good to get experience in yet another GT3 machine. It’s pretty different to the Mercedes, Bentley, Nissan and Aston Martin that I’ve driven in the past. It’s mid-engined, which means driving style is tweaked slightly, but I think I’ve got it nailed… we’ll soon find out!

“Scuderia Praha are a strong team, especially on their home soil in the Czech Republic,” he added. “Last year, myself and RAM Racing finished in second place, just behind them, so I’m hoping I can join them on the top step, this weekend.”

OC will race alongside Peter Kox, Jiri Pisarik and Josef Král and fans can watch and support them at www.24hseries.com. Qualifying takes place at 15.45 local time on Saturday with the race starting at 12.00 on Sunday.

OC RETURNS TO THE 'RING IN TOYOTA GT86 CS-CUP

Tom Onslow-Cole will return to the Nürburgring, this weekend, with two missions: the first to complete his Nürburgring 24 Hours licence and the second to drive the Toyota GT86 CS-Cup, this time in the SP3 class as the manufacturer evaluates modified parts.
 
The GT3 racer, who has taken seven 24-hour race podiums since his switch to endurance racing, is keen to add Nürburgring 24 Hours to his list of accomplishments, so is mid-way through gaining the required licence. He just needs one more race start and five more race laps before he can 'throw his hat in the ring' for the world’s toughest endurance race.
 
After starting his licence in the Milltek Sport-liveried GT86 CS-Cup, OC is returning to the Ring but, this time, as part of Toyota Motorsport GbmH’s testing and development programme. TMG is pleased to involve Tom because of his vast racing experience and engineering abilities, while his team-mates Dale Lomas and Lucas Gavris bring significant experience of the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
 
"As well as the data we will get from this race, TMG considers driver evaluation and feedback of cars and parts to be a crucial step in the development programme,” commented Nico Ehlert, Principal Engineer Customer Motorsport at TMG. “So to get feedback from drivers with experience of the Nordschleife and other high-level racing cars, plus an experienced team, really enhances our development.”
 
This weekend’s VLN9 is a four-hour long race that takes place on Saturday afternoon and is the penultimate round of the ten-race series on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.  
 
“I can’t wait to go back,” said OC. “There’s a chance the weather won’t be very nice but, having seen the weather at Nürburgring 24 Hours over the past few years, you need to know the Nordschleife in rain, fog and even hail!
 
"The Toyota GT86 CS-Cup is the perfect car for learning the track. It’s a shame not to be challenging in the TMG GT86 CS-Cup class, because the racing is awesome, but it’s exciting and interesting to be part of the development process and data gathering for TMG.”
 
VLN9 can be viewed at
www.VLN.de and fans can keep up-to-date with OC on his social media channels in the links above.

OC SCORES CLASS PODIUM IN DEBUT VLN RACE

Tom Onslow-Cole not only completed his Nürburgring Norschleife permit course at VLN7, but he took a podium in the Toyota GT86 Cup and racked up 13 race laps, which takes him more than halfway to getting his Nürburgring 24 Hours licence.
 
It was a change from OC’s usual 600+bhp GT3 machinery, this weekend. With more than 28kms of track to learn, he and long-term sponsor Milltek Sport opted to race in the Ring Racing Toyota GT86 with Nürburgring specialists Dale Lomas and Luke Gavris, as well as American racer Jean-Francois Brunot.
 
“You have to have respect for the Nordschleife,” he commented. “The Toyota GT86 is the perfect car to learn the track, while enjoying some competitive racing in the single-marque cup class. When it comes to team-mates, Dale and Luke not only know this place inside-out but they are fantastic at sharing information. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the ‘Ring.”
 
After completing an online learning course, a classroom-based tutorial and an on-track assessment, OC was granted his Nordschleife racing permit and the Ring Racing team started the six-hour VLN7 from fourth in class. After two stints and 13 laps, OC was in third place when he handed over to Luke, who took the chequered flag.
 
In order to gain his licence to race in the world-famous Nürburgring 24 Hours, OC must now complete one more VLN race-start and a further five laps of the Nordschleife.
 
“I can’t wait to come back and race here again,” OC continued. “I have a great respect for the circuit and the drivers who have mastered it. Seeing my Blancpain GT Series competition doing sub-eight minute laps is seriously impressive – the plan is to join them in the future. For now, I will continue to learn what is the most exciting and spectacular racing track in the world, giving it the respect that it requires.”
 
OC will return to the Nürburgring in two weeks for the final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series Cup, although this time, he won’t be entering the Norschleife. The 1000km race will take place on the GP circuit and OC will be back in the Team Parker Racing Bentley Continental GT3. 

OC TO RACE AT THE RING FOR MILLTEK SPORT

Tom Onslow-Cole will complete the Nürburgring permit course, this week, ahead of his VLN Championship debut in the Milltek Sport-backed Toyota GT-86, on Saturday (3 September).

OC, who has tested many of the Milltek Sport fleet of performance cars - most recently the Ford Focus RS - on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, has never raced on the 24.4km-long track, but says there are several reasons he and the premium exhaust manufacturer have chosen to compete there.

"The Nürburgring is for true petrol-heads who appreciate quality and performance, and that makes it a perfect place for Milltek Sport to race," OC explained. "The track is also among the most testing and challenging in the world, not only for us drivers but for the cars and parts. Milltek Sport manufactures premium exhaust systems that are easily capable of performing here under the most extreme conditions so, this is the perfect place to prove, develop and demonstrate its products.

"On a personal level, Nürburgring 24 Hours is on my hit-list. It's not only a unique challenge for GT drivers but, with all the big manufacturers and teams spending huge money to try and win it, the career opportunities are good - I need to be ready to race, when the call comes in!"

In order to race in Nürburgring 24 Hours, drivers need to pass a safety course that demonstrates an understanding of the circuit and the specific safety measures imposed. To be granted the licence, they must safely complete 18 laps of the Nordschleife, with specific performance requirements, and clock-up two VLN race starts.

Once he has completed his course on Thursday and Friday, OC will drive in this weekend's six-hour event alongside Nürburgring specialists Dale Lomas (otherwise known as Bridge to Gantry) and Luke Gavris, as well as Continental Tire Championship driver Jean-Francois Brunot. The quartet will drive a Milltek Sport-liveried Toyota GT-86 in the Cup4 (or TMG GT86 Cup) class.

"I know Dale and Luke quite well so I'll definitely be trying to tap into their vast experience," he commented. "Between them, myself and Jean-Francois, we should have a team capable of taking the class win. I want to thank Milltek Sport for giving me this opportunity to join in their Nürburgring programme. I hope this is the start of a beautiful relationship with the 'Ring."

The VLN Championship is a ten-race series that takes place on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Just like Nürburgring 24 Hours, cars ranging from the front-running GT3 machines through to hot-hatch touring cars can compete, making it a truly special experience. Manufacturers, teams and drivers use the VLN Championship to prepare for the 24-hour race, with many now opting to do the full season.

VLN7 will take place this Saturday at 12.00hrs local time. Fans can watch the race live at www.vln.de/live  and can follow Tom on his social media channels.