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.