Tom Onslow-Cole 2013 Pre-Season Catch Up
(Very relaxed) That’s an eternity! (laughs) There’s plenty of time to get it all done.. don’t worry. The team are working flat out and we’re all confident that we’ll be there to shake the car down well before qually and get it up to a decent race pace. It will be good to see what we’ve got and start collating our test data. From what I have seen of the build so far, it all looks very favourable and I’m sure we can get on the pace fairly quickly.
Tony Gilham and the team already have some NGTC data from the Insignias they bought from a previous racing team. Will any of this be any use in set-up on the Passat?
Er, no, if we're honest. The team pretty much started those cars from scratch in order to prepare them for this season, with everything being new and/or revised. They’re starting with fresh sheets of paper on those cars too. We’re confident though, that we can work with the experience and set-up data we have for the venue, allied to early test results and transfer this to the new platforms.
Brands is one of your favourite tracks. Will having a local, well-known-to-you circuit ease the pressure in your first event with an all-new car?
Yes and no. It’s great from my point of view that I know and love the track, and of course, that we’re practically on the team’s doorstep, should we get any unforeseen dramas and need to nip back to HQ, but also Brands is a tight little lap, and tenths and hundredths can make a big difference here in terms of grid or finishing position. There’s no hiding when it’s that close. Qually will tell all!
What’s your realistic hope or expectation for the first round?
A win would be nice wouldn’t it? (laughs) Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to attack from the second the lights go out. New car or not, we have the team and the car to get a good result. We will have to learn many things along the way, I’m sure, but certainly we’re all hoping for a solid start to the season and a top 8 finish.
Pyschologically, how does it affect you as a driver when you’re lining up alongside other teams that you know you can match or beat in a fair fight, but have dozens of test days and thousands of test miles completed?
It doesn’t worry me, really. When you’re that confident in your set-up, you’re not necessarily driving at ‘11’ all of the time, as the car will do what you need it to do. I like the focus of learning a new car, and after a winter off, I’m hungry to get back on track and work hard at getting it to perform. I’m totally up for it.
Finally, anyone you need to put a special shout out too?
Everyone at Team HARD, obviously.. The guys have been working just flat out and I really appreciate everything they’ve done. And you guys at Milltek, too. Not only for all of your support and the obvious exhausts, but I don’t think everyone realises that we also keep stealing your craftsmen and fabricators to make crucial equipment like tyre trolleys for our paddock set-up. Basically, if it’s metal and made of tube or sheet.. I think you guys made it for us.. so thanks for that!
Watch Tom (hopefully) achieve his 'Top 8' aspirations at Brands Hatch this Sunday, March 31st – or catch on ITV4 if you can’t make it in person.