Monday, October 15 2012
Tom Onslow-Cole heads to Brands Hatch this weekend (20/21 October) with a chance of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Independents' title, but he will also be supporting eBay Motors colleague Rob Collard as they fight for the Independent teams' championship. Tom reflects on a year in which he returned to WSR, where he made his series debut.
"It's been a tricky season, for sure," he said. "Certainly not the smoothest for me going back to a rear-wheel drive car during the off season. It's been a struggle but I've come on form later in the season, which puts me in a good position for next year."
Onslow-Cole has matured between stints at Dick Bennett's legendary squad but despite being an outside bet for the title at Brands Hatch two years ago, has been overshadowed by his team mate. "I knew Rob would be quick," he explained. "What has been good is we were close at the start of the season and we've pushed each other - I'd try something in one race, he'd try something else in another and we'd both go faster. In qualifying Rob has been very quick."
Indeed, Collard's pace has taken the BMW to three victories in 2012, after the team switched to an NGTC-spec turbo engine over the winter. The first of these came at Brands Hatch at the opening round of the season in April. Onslow-Cole is sure this bodes well for the weekend: "We had a good early season round at Brands Hatch. The Grand Prix circuit is a different animal to the Indy circuit but it's looking like a strong end to the season for us. I think most of the action will happen on the Indy circuit - the high speed section is fantastic and lot has happened there in the past but I would keep a close eye on Paddock Hill, Druids and Surtees corners."
However the writing has been on the wall for the teams still employing S2000-spec chassis and with Redstone having made the switch already, Tom is hoping that he won't have to spend the winter talking to rival outfits. "In an ideal world I want to return to WSR for next year in an eBay Motors NGTC-spec BMW," he said. "There are a lot of questions to be sorted out but that will be my aim. The team is working towards the same thing but there are no certainties. It's not a million miles off but it's not happening yet."
However Onslow-Cole is certain about one thing - the destination of the 2012 BTCC title: "Shedden is who I have my personal money on!"
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on 20/21 October are available from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.