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TOC to skip remaining rounds

Tom Onslow-Cole will miss the remaining rounds of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after both he and Team HARD. agreed to focus on further developing its VW Passat for the 2014 season. 

The 26-year-old has produced some amazing results behind the wheel of the brand new car so far in 2013 – most notably the two podiums at Thruxton followed by another at Croft – but the Dartford-based squad feel that it’s suffering from carrying out its ‘testing programme’ during actual race weekends. 

“It’s another difficult decision that we’ve had to make, but we just feel that our investment in Tom would be better spent on making sure the car is moving forward ahead of a real assault in 2014,” said Team HARD boss Tony Gilham. “We have a three year deal with Tom, which is a long-term relationship in the BTCC, so it’s the right time to make a decision that we believe will give him the chance to fight for a title next season and beyond. 

“We believe in the car and it has obviously scored podiums already this season. The car will still be utilised on race weekends for us to develop some of our young VW Cup drivers, with more details coming on that soon, but we need to be able to put Tom through an extensive winter testing programme that we believe will ensure the Passat can fight consistently at the front at all circuits.” 

Having already contested more than 180 BTCC races, seven-time race winner Onslow-Cole is an extremely experienced tin-top racer despite his relative young age. While missing the final rounds of the 2013 campaign is a disappointment, the Surrey racer is clear that he needs a potentially championship winning car at this time of his career. 

“When you look at the project we’ve had a great first season with the VW Passat,” said Onslow-Cole. “To score podiums in one of the first events of the season was great, but it has been tough to develop the car over race weekends. Ideally we needed to have had a full testing programme but of course the car was brand new on the eve of the season. Financially we could finish the season, but then not have the backing we believe is needed in order to test the car significantly over the winter. I’m a racer so it’s always tough to make a decision that means we won’t be racing for the rest of the year, but if it gives both the team and I the best possible chance of winning in 2014 then it has to be the right decision.” 

Tony Gilham 
Managing Director, Team Principal, Team Owner 

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