JAMES COLE TO CAMPAIGN BTCC 2013
AND LAUNCH MAJOR NEW ROAD-SAFETY INITIATIVE
Liverpool racing driver, James Cole announces today 3rd January 2013 that he will make his debut in the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), driving for Team HARD in a Vauxhall Insignia. Cole switches from single seaters to touring cars to capitalise on the high profile and wide audience enjoyed by Britain’s premier racing series, for the introduction of an exciting new road-safety initiative to be launched later this month.
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Cole says of the move to BTCC, “The undeniable stronghold that BTCC has on media coverage in the UK, with the ITV4 live package has led to this very exciting new challenge for me. I’ve always been a big fan of touring car racing, so when the chance to move into the series was presented, it was a very easy decision to make. BTCC provides the perfect platform for my ambitions with the new initiative and I’ll be revealing these over the next few weeks.”
On joining Team Hard, Cole adds, “Tony Gilham is an accomplished driver and team owner. As a race driver he understands my goals and how we can work together to achieve the racing results I’ll be out to get and as a team owner he is acutely aware of the commercial requirements I’m looking for to successfully launch a major new road-safety campaign. With Tom Onslow-Cole and Jack Goff already announced, Tony is putting together a very strong driver line-up and I think Team HARD will be a force to be reckoned with.”
Cole remains tight-lipped about the details of the initiative he’ll be launching, only revealing a few details: “it will be far reaching and high-profile, with a relevance to every road user, young and old. I was knocked down and seriously injured outside my school as an 11-year-old so it is really important to me that I work with the BTCC and Team HARD to maximise the benefits of its launch, and now that I’ve signed with Tony I can start to finalise the details and finalise the strategy for the season.”
24-year-old Cole rose quickly through the ranks of single-seaters, winning the North West Formula Ford Championship in 2007, stepping up to the British Formula Ford Championship in 2008 and winning this championship in only his second season, an achievement which earned him nomination for the prestigious McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award in 2009. Moving to British F3 National Class in 2010, Cole won nine races and took eight poles on route to being runner up in only his first season at this level. Since this time, Cole raced in F2 in 2011, and spent 2012 working on developing the new road-safety initiative and putting plans in place for its launch.
Gilham, Team Owner, Team HARD, is a big supporter of Cole’s ambitious race and commercial plans, saying, “It’s great to have James joining the team for 2013 and bringing such an innovative and inspiring initiative; I’m very impressed with the plans he has for next season, both on-track and off-track.”
“He proved to be very competitive and skilful driver in single seaters,” adds Gilham, “and I think he’ll quickly find his feet in BTCC. He’s a smart young guy, who is obviously hard working so I’ve no doubt that he’ll be putting everything into making sure he’s on the pace and holding his own in the ‘lion’s den’ of the BTCC grid.”
Cole expects to be behind the wheel with Team HARD in early February…
James Cole steps up to F2 in 2011
On his ascent through the motorsport ranks, which started in 2007 with success in regional championships. In 2009 James won the British Formula Ford championship and finished third in the legendary Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. This was followed up by a successful British Formula 3 campaign, in which he competed in the National Class, finishing the year as runner-up.
The highly-rated 22-year old British driver has already been part of the MSA British Race Academy and become a McLaren Autosport Award finalist, and is currently a British Racing Drivers Club Rising Star.
JAMES F2 WEBSITE PAGEVISIT THE F2 WEBSITENEXT ROUND MAGNY-COURS 13-15 MAYJames Cole flies the F2 flag for Comma
Comma Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Bewsey, revealed today that James Cole, a prominent rising young star of British motorsport, has been chosen to drive the Comma sponsored No 2 car in this year’s FIA Formula Two Championship. The highly-rated 22 year old driver from Merseyside has already been part of the MSA British Race Academy and, following in the wheel tracks of previous McLaren Autosport Award finalists such as David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and reigning FIA F2 champion Dean Stoneman, Cole joined their prestigious ranks in 2009. He is also currently a British Racing Drivers Club Rising Star.
“James has been looming large on UK motorsport’s radar for a couple of years, and we’re all delighted that he will be our standard bearer in 2011,” said Mr Bewsey. “FIA Formula Two is the logical next step for him in his ascent through the ranks, and everyone at Comma wishes him well and will be closely watching his progress as the season develops. I’m sure he will be motivated and spurred on to emulate the successes of Jolyon Palmer who carried Comma’s colours so brilliantly last year and has now graduated to GP2.”
In 2007 at the age of 18, James began his racing career with instant success in regional Formula Ford championships. In 2009, he led from start to finish of the season to dominate and win the British National Formula Ford championship and finish third in the legendary Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. He followed this in 2010 with a successful British Formula 3 campaign, competing in the National Class and closing out the year as runner-up.
In testing for the new F2 season, James quickly accustomed himself to the most powerful racing machine he had ever sat in. “I chose F2 because of the enjoyment of driving the car,” says James. “It’s got a lot of power and it’s good that everyone’s got the same car. The first test at Silverstone went well, we were in the top six straight away and I’d never driven the car before, so if I can regularly be in the top six we’ll see what happens from there. I’m really pleased to be working with Comma this year, we both share the same passion for performance - I think we’re going to have a great partnership.”
Away from the intense demands of racing, James indulges his other great passion of music by playing keyboard and lead guitar in a band. “My parents keep asking when I’m going to get a real job, but music and motor racing are my hobby and my life,” he says. Could it be more than a happy coincidence that James’ motor racing hero, 1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill, was also an accomplished rock guitarist and has made several guest appearances with celebrity bands?
In addition to sponsorship of James Cole’s car, Comma is also the official Technical Partner to the FIA Formula Two Championship. All 24 of the identical 480bhp Williams F1 designed JPH1B cars competing in the series use engine oils, coolants and maintenance products supplied by Comma.
FINAL ROUND DISAPPOINTMENT ENDS JAMES COLE’S DREAMS OF BRITISH F3 NATIONAL CLASS TITLE
28 September 2010.../Liverpool driver, James Cole, saw his title chances evaporate at the final round of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series last weekend. The 22-year-old driver had led the class all season up until the penultimate event, and with only four points between him and his adversary, Menasheh Idafar, Cole had been determined to show his prowess, but it was not to be.
Cole’s preparations for the Brands Hatch series closing event began with a test at Rockingham Motor Speedway. The T-Sport driver headed the time sheets for the National Class, the best outcome Cole could hope for as he headed to the title deciding weekend.
The qualifying sessions proved a tougher challenge for Cole and the young driver was pipped to the class pole by his team mate, Menasheh Idafar, his title rival. “My best lap time was voided because of yellow flags and that put me a distance behind Menasheh for the start”, said Cole. “From that point onwards I had a mountain to climb, but I was out to give it my all and I did that.”
The first of the three races sealed Cole’s fate after Idafar was able to pull away from Cole and take the win, while Cole was pushing as hard as he could to narrow the gap to the Bahraini driver. “Menasheh was just in a different league to me in the opening race – and the rest of the weekend. The car just wasn’t responding the way it has done all season and I just didn’t seem to be able to match his pace. It was really disappointing as we’d been so close in the races up to this point, trading wins and keeping each other honest, but in that first race there was a big gap between us.”
The following two races proved to be repeats of the first of the three races, with Cole disappointed not to be taking the fight to the finish. With Idafar claiming two further wins, Cole’s consolation was the runner-up spot, but after a season-long battle which went to the wire, it was a tough result to swallow. “I had been leading the class after every race weekend until Snetterton, the penultimate round, and it was still close with the title within my grasp. But this weekend it just slipped away from me.”
“I’m gutted to have lost out at the final hurdle, but Menasheh was a great rival and I congratulate him on his success. Despite this disappointing weekend, I’ve had some high points, including my two overall top ten finishes, and wins every weekend except the last two. I’m hoping that I’ve done enough to secure a place in the Autosport Young Driver of the Year; being a finalist in that would be a great end to the season.”
JAMES COLE STAYS IN THE HUNT FOR F3 NATIONAL CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
31 August 2010.../The penultimate round of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Snetterton this bank holiday weekend produced three exciting races, with 22-year-old James Cole in the thick of the hunt for the National Class championship title. Only four points separate team mate and title rival, Menasheh Idafar, from Cole, with Idafar drawing narrowly ahead at Snetterton.
The weekend began with testing on Saturday and Cole was focused on preparing his car for the challenge of the Norfolk track. Afternoon rain gave Cole a chance to experience the circuit in wetter weather, which was to prove useful for the first race on Sunday. A torrential rain storm just before the race started flooded the track and when Cole set out to line up on the grid in his Dallara Mugen Honda, it was shod with the treaded wet tyre, the choice of all the F3 teams.
In tricky conditions Cole had the better of Idafar at the start but his rival slipped through at the second turn and as the track dried Cole was only able to shadow his team mate. As the race reached its closing stages a dry line gave Cole the opportunity to switch to slick tyres and take a point for fastest National Class lap, a tactic which could prove critical in the final points tally after the final round.
The second of the three races this weekend took place this morning, with the holiday crowd enjoying the feature length race which took place on a wet but drying track, adding to the challenges of the Snetterton track. Cole started second in class, but unable to take the win off his rival, the Merseysider focused on a strong points finish to keep the championship battle alive.
The final race was the first dry race of the weekend and although Cole was lapping at a similar pace to Idafar, he was unable to pass his team mate in similar machinery and once again followed him to the chequered flag. Three second places for Cole dropped him behind Idafar for the first time this season, but with only four points between the two the title battle rages on.
“I always thought the title fight would go to the wire,” said Cole. “We’ve been so evenly matched all season that it was perhaps inevitable. I didn’t have the best weekend of my season and felt I didn’t have the car I needed to be winning, but I’m sure I’ll turn it around for Brands Hatch, the final event of the series this season.
“There’s plenty of pressure on both myself and Idafar, so it’ll be an exciting conclusion to the year. I’m going to do everything in my power to take the title, so it’s total focus from now to the final race now. I’m just concentrating on my fitness, preparing with my engineers and being in peak condition for that final event. Bring it on!”
The final event of the British F3 International Series takes place at Brands Hatch circuit, Kent from 25 – 26th September.
COLE KEEPS UP MOMENTUM TO RETAIN NATIONAL CLASS LEAD AFTER SILVERSTONE
16 August 2010.../After eight rounds of the ten round Cooper Tires British F3 International Series James Cole leads the way in the National Class, with a win and two second place finishes at Silverstone this weekend keeping him ahead of title rival, Menasheh Idafar.
Cole has led the National Class since the opening round of this year’s British F3 International Series, in his first year of the championship. Despite a strong challenge from Idafar each race weekend Cole has stayed ahead, using his ever-improving race skills and putting in a season-long focus on driving to his best ability each weekend, to hold the upper hand after each three-race event.
The battle for National Class honours was as tight and challenging as ever at Silverstone, with Cole pushing hard each and every lap, throughout the practice and qualifying sessions as well as the three race distances.
The typically unpredictable British weather shaped the outcome of Saturday’s opening race. With rain falling just prior to the race Cole, driving his T-Sport Dallara Mugen Honda F3 car, opted to take the start with wet tyres, but on the formation laps decided to pit for slicks, forcing him to start from the pitlane. Three laps after the start rain fell heavily and Cole was back to the pits for wet tyres and he was then able to push on, taking a second place finish.
A dry, warm track greeted the F3 field on Sunday morning for the second of the weekend’s races, an 11 lap sprint distance. Cole led the National Class from the opening lap and held off Idafar to secure his first win of the weekend, his 11th win of the season.
The third of the trio of F3 races, a 40 minutes Feature race, was held in dry, hot weather and although Cole chased Idafar hard, he was unable to take the honours this time, but with another second place finish, he kept ahead in the title battle.
Cole said of the Silverstone weekend, “Consistent strong finishes has been the key to maintaining the lead of the National Class. I’m having to fight tooth and nail in every race to stay at the top, but the pressure is keeping me on my toes and helping me to use my head and ensure I finish each race with the best result possible.
“Saturday’s weather added another dimension to the first race, but with the right strategy and a good call from my engineers on when to pit I was able to turn this to my advantage. Throughout this season it has been the excellent teamwork from my T-Sport crew which has helped me to be top of the league. Just two more rounds remain, but with only eight points between Idafar and myself, the title chase is as hard as ever.”
Cole returns to the track in two weeks time with the ninth round taking place at Snetterton race track in Norfolk.
JAMES COLE BACK AT THE TOP IN BRITISH F3 NATIONAL CLASS
9 August 2010.../James Cole celebrated his tenth National Class win in the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series this weekend. The three races at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire produced a win and two seconds for the Liverpool driver and put him 10 points clear of title rival, Menasheh Idafar in the National Class Drivers Championship.
Cole and Idafar arrived in Thruxton as joint leaders in the National Class and with Cole having led from the start, he was determined to wrest back the advantage. The practice sessions gave Cole his chance to learn the characteristics of the high-speed circuit and work with the T-Sport crew to develop the set up of his car ahead of the qualifying session. An engine change after the session gave the T-Sport mechanics extra work ahead of the races, but the car was ready for the races in plenty of time.
It was the first of the three races which gave Cole the edge for the weekend. Cole kept it clean throughout the 27 laps of racing and with Idafar crashing out on the penultimate lap, he was able to take the Class win. The remaining two races of the weekend saw Cole and Idafar fight hard and fair. In the second race, a 17 lap sprint distance, the two young drivers, vied for class honours and with their closely matched machinery, it was a close battle which was won by Idafar on this occasion. The final race of the weekend was a similar story, but Cole was forced to pit for extensive repairs after being caught up in a clash between two International Class drivers. With bent wishbones and a damaged rear wing, Cole could only race on for championship points, unable to vie for the fastest lap or a Class win. His second place finish kept him in the lead of the all-important National Class Drivers Championship.
Cole reported his weekend saying, “Thruxton is a great track to drive and really needs nerves of steel for the high speed sections, especially when you’re racing wheel-to-wheel. It wasn’t one of my best weekends, but the result went my way in the end, as I achieved my goal of leaving the event back in the lead of the championship. Idafar and I are pushing each other to the limit and that’s good for both of us, and I’m making sure that I keep a sensible head to prioritise strong performances and points finishes. Mixing it with the International Class cars wasn’t as easy for us at this fast track, but we were still able to beat some of these guys, and that’s always the aim at this level of racing.”
Cole will have little time to reflect on the weekend with the next round of the championship hot on the heels of Thruxton. Silverstone will host the next event this coming weekend and Cole is already preparing for the championship’s second visit to this venue, working with his engineer to be as ready as possible for the three races ahead.
F3 NATIONAL CLASS BATTLE RAGES FOR JAMES COLE IN BELGIUM
2 August 2010.../James Cole took on the challenge of the famed Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend, with the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series crossing to the continent for the sixth round of the championship. After a torrid start to his weekend, with technical issues sidelining him in practice, Cole showed his fortitude to remain competitive in each race, taking the class win in the final race of the weekend to put the Liverpool driver on a par with title rival Menasheh Idafar. With four rounds remaining of the season, Cole remains determined to fend off team mate Idafar to claim the crown.
Driving the T-Sport Dallara Mugen Honda at one of the top racing circuits in the world, Cole was given his first chance to experience the thrill of Eau Rouge, one of the fastest sections of any race track which favours the brave and pushes drivers to the limit. A drive shaft problem during the practice sessions ahead of the weekend’s racing put Cole on the back foot right from the start and at such a long, technically demanding, track this was always going to make it difficult for him, but as always, Cole’s gritty determination helped him to keep the championship battle raging.
Cole’s race debut at Spa saw him in a fierce battle with arch-rival Idafar, with the two protagonists racing wheel to wheel until Idafar pipped Cole to the lead to take the win. The second race was a similar dog-fight, with Cole pursuing Idafar for much of the race distance, and crossing the line second in class. The final race of the Belgian trio continued to produce a heated battle between the T-Sport team mate, which spilled over on the opening lap. An ambitious move on Cole by Idafar resulted in contact, although with Idafar coming off worse, Cole was able to continue on and sweep through for the win.
Cole said afterwards, “Menasheh made a very ambitious move on me into the Bus Stop chicane, cutting across me which took off my front wing. He paid for this with a puncture, so although my pace was hampered I could continue and take the win.
“Winning that last race of the weekend was critical for me. I’d been hurt badly by missing a session at the start of the weekend, as this track isn’t easy to learn or master and with the changing weather conditions, it was a constant learning curve throughout the weekend. I knew I had to take three strong finishes, and keep as close as I could to Menasheh, so that I collected plenty of points. My strategy proved successful and I think take a win and be tied for the championship lead after this weekend isn’t as bad as it could have been.
“With this run of back to back weekends, there’s no time to reflect and all the opportunity to move ahead in the class battle. Next up are two familiar circuits, with Thruxton and Silverstone hosting the race weekends this month. Thruxton is a very fast track, plenty of overtaking points and the potential for changeable weather conditions, so I’m focusing on this now.”
Cole and Idafar are tied for the British F3 National Class title with 252 points apiece and nine class wins each.
COLE TAKES VICTORY AND RETAINS NATIONAL CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
19 July 2010.../The fifth round of the 2010 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series at Rockingham this weekend produced some epic battles, with James Cole in the thick of his fight to retain the National Class championship lead. A well deserved victory in the final race after two second place finishes kept the Merseysider at the head of the tables, leading title rival, Menasheh Idafar, by five points as the Series reaches halfway point of the season.
A blistering pace throughout the weekend also saw Cole finish seventh overall in the final race, proving his ability to mix it with the faster International Class cars.
The first of the weekend’s three races saw Cole racing his T-Sport Dallara Mercedes to a second place finish, duelling hard with team mate Idafar for the National Class honours. Cole said of his first Rockingham run this season, “It’s a unique circuit with two distinct sections - the twisty infield section and the high speed oval part, so setting the car up is always going to be a compromise. It was another learning curve for me, working with my engineers to balance the aerodynamic demands of these two parts of the track. We did a lot of work in the pre-weekend test, so I was feeling comfortable with the car by the time of this first race.”
The second race of the weekend featured a new dimension for British F3 racing with the introduction of a mandatory pit stop during the 20 minutes sprint distance. The ever cool Cole was unfazed by this, practicing earlier in the weekend and working with his crew to ensure the team worked together efficiently and quickly. Another second place finish was the result of the efforts by Cole and his crew, although the race was shaped by a first lap incident with protagonist Idafar. Cole and his team mate made contact in their fight for position, and the resultant war wounds forced both drivers into the pits for repairs. Despite this, the battle between these two hard-charging drivers raged until the end of the race. Cole explains, “Perhaps it was inevitable that we were going to clash at some point this season in the opening lap, as it’s such a tight battle every time we race. We’re very evenly matched and having to use all our skills to keep each other honest.”
The final race, a 40 minutes Feature race, was another classic F3 incident-filled event with a multi-car accident producing first lap drama for the front runners. Cole picked his way through the littered cars, running under the safety car until the track was cleared. He led Idafar from the green flag to the finish, posting fastest class lap en route to his eighth victory of the season. His delight in winning the race was heightened by his achieving a seventh place overall, his best finish position so far.
Cole says of his victory, “It was great to be running so closely with the International Class cars and showing that I have the pace to mix with them, despite being in a slower car. I kept Idafar behind me and with this eighth win have kept the upper hand which is really important to me. There are only a few points in it, so there’s no room for complacency and I’ll have to work as hard each and every race if I’m to win this title, but that’s always the goal.”
Cole will continue his assault on the British F3 National Class championship at Spa in two weeks time.
JAMES COLE FORGES AHEAD TO CONSOLIDATE CLASS LEAD AT MAGNY COURS
24 May 2010.../Liverpool racer, James Cole, forged ahead in the Cooper Tires MSA British F3 International Series with two victories in the third of the ten round championship held at Magny Cours this weekend. This three race event was Cole’s first visit to the French track and he showed his strong form as he quickly got to grips with the former Formula One circuit.
The weekend began for Cole with the practice and qualifying sessions. The 21-year-old driver enjoyed the combination of his T-Sport Dallara Mugen-Honda National class race car and the big, sweeping corners of the Magny Cours circuit, as he continued his learning curve with the powerful single seater. Second in class on the grid for the first of the three races, Cole was also ahead of three of the main International class racers and he was set for the challenge of moving up the order for the first race. His second fastest qualifying lap put him on class pole and ahead of National class rival and T-Sport team mate Idafar Menasheh for the third race.
Cole had a storming start for the first of the three races, overtaking Menasheh and improving five places by the end of the first lap. As the race settled Menasheh regained the ground he had lost at the start and began challenging Cole, with the team mates pushing each other hard in the mid-section of the race. The battle raged, but Cole was unable to stop his team mate passing in the closing laps, crossing the finish line in a strong 12th position, to finish second in class.
The tables were turned in the second and third races. Cole was determined to wrest the advantage away from Menasheh and he succeeded in style. The morning began with a dramatic 10 minute Sprint race. The original 20 minutes scheduled race had to be restarted following a clash between two International class racers and with the shortened race distance, it was a dash to the chequered flag over seven laps. Cole drove flawlessly, lapping consistently and keeping faster International class cars at bay as he swept to the class win.
The third race sealed Cole’s dominance of the weekend with the young driver enjoying the challenge of the 26 lap feature race and showing his prowess behind the wheel of his Dallara Mugen-Honda. In the opening laps Cole chased hard with Menasheh ahead on track, but in his sights. By mid-distance he had closed down the gap and was in striking distance of taking the class lead. Cole diced with his rival and then raced past Menasheh. Not content to have the lead Cole then pushed on to overtake International Class competitors, proving his determination on every lap of the race. A 12th place finish overall capped a solid weekend of racing for Cole, as he consolidated his lead of the National Class.
Cole said of the weekend, “I’m pleased with our efforts this weekend and I’ve come away from Magny Cours not only in the lead of the championship, but with two solid wins. I’m making great progress with my understanding of the car, making the most of its aerodynamics and working closely with my engineer to get the best from it. I had the car to take the fight to Idafar, my title rival, but also was able to battle with some of the faster International cars, which was great fun and really builds my experience.”
The British F3 International Series stays in Europe, moving on to Hockenheim in Germany for the fourth event next weekend and Cole is keen to continue the progress he has made in France, as he focuses on his goal of winning the National Class of the Series.
COLE EXTENDS LEAD IN F3 NATIONAL CLASS
3 May 2010.../James Cole extended his lead in the National class of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series, scoring two wins and a second place at Silverstone this weekend. Cole’s success has put him 25 points ahead of second placed driver and T-Sport Racing team mate, Menasheh Idafar.
Cole’s weekend began smoothly with competitive running in the practice session ahead of qualifying, with the series taking to Silverstone’s new Arena circuit layout, the first time that this configuration had been used for a race event. In the qualifying session Cole suffered a broken gear linkage, so was unable to capitalise on new tyres and had to start close to the back of the grid. The 21-year-old from Southport thrives on this type of challenge and was quick to make up ground on the opening lap of the first race held on Saturday, to take the class win after 14 laps of racing.
After overnight rain, the track conditions had changed for the second race on Sunday morning to provide a different learning experience for Cole. Over the course of the ten lap sprint distance he pushed hard and turned good lap times, battling with team mate Idafar in the closing stages, with Cole finishing a close second to Idafar at the chequered flag.
In the final F3 race of the weekend Cole had another strong drive, showing good pace and improving his lap times over the course of the 20 lap feature race distance. He kept team mate and National class title contender, Idafar, at bay to claim his second win of the weekend and retain the lead of the National class championship. Cole was also pleased to be ahead of National class runner, Luis Razia, Formula One team Virgin Racing’s test driver, in all three races.
Cole said of the Silverstone F3 round, “It’s been a good weekend. I’ve put in solid performances and been rewarded with strong results. Scoring two wins has kept my title hopes on track and extending the lead over Menasheh is a bonus at this early stage of the season. I feel I’m improving each time I’m out on track and that’s always the benchmark for me. I’m still learning about the car, and I’m sure that will be the case all season, but as I gain the experience I expect to be gaining ground and pushing even harder.”
Cole returns to the track later this month with his first visit to the Magny Cours track in France. The third round of the Formula 3 International Series take place from 22-23 May
JAMES COLE LEADS NATIONAL CLASS AFTER BRITISH F3 SEASON OPENER AT HOME CIRCUIT
6 April 2010.../Liverpool racer, James Cole, finished his first round of British F3 reflecting on the highs of a challenging weekend. A class win and lead of the National Class has buoyed the 21-year-old driver’s confidence as he heads into the toughest season of racing of his career. Oulton Park, host venue for the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series during the Easter weekend break, is familiar territory for the 21-year-old and he enjoyed his first experience of F3 racing, driving with the experienced T-Sport racing team.
Cole, reigning British Formula Ford champion, has graduated to the National Class of the British F3 championship and is using the opportunity to continue his motor racing education in one of the most competitive single seater categories. The Merseysider began his weekend with a solid qualifying performance on Saturday morning, earning 16th place grid slots for the first and third races, with the grid for the second race featuring semi-reversing from the race one finish.
The opening race was Cole’s first experience of the frenetic, wheel-to-wheel action of British F3 and he kept his cool, holding position for the first few laps, then improving to 12th position. A two lap safety car period calmed the field and on the return to full speed racing, Cole had to battle hard with rivals around, but these faster international cars proved more than a match, and he was pushed down one position. Undeterred Cole pushed on and fought back to reclaim 12th place by the chequered flag.
Racing resumed today, after a day off from track activities for Easter Sunday. Cole was keen to continue to score consistent points and benefit from his 12th place start, but luck wasn’t on his side. An unfortunate spin on lap 5 of the 13-lap race, prematurely ending Cole’s run, sidelining him for the remainder of the race.
The final race, a 26 lap feature event, tested Cole’s stamina as well as his racecraft skills, with the racer having previously only competed in races averaging less than half this distance. Cole endured a tough race, having dropped back to the rest of the field after an enforced pitstop at the end of lap one. It was a chance for Cole to put the hammer down when he returned to the track and he turned a string of consistent laps to reduce the gap to the cars ahead. Finishing 17th and taking the National Class win was a welcome reward for Cole’s efforts, and with his 12th place finish from the first race he took the lead of the National Class.
After the three races, Cole said, “It’s been a positive weekend for me. I didn’t expect to lead the National Class after the first weekend, but very happy to have achieved this at an early stage of the season. Being top is one thing though, it’s going to be very tough to hold on to it, but it’s consistency which will be the key.
“It’s my first experience of racing a car with wings and the amount of downforce I have takes some getting used to. Although I’ve been testing, there are new experiences when you are racing competitively, particularly learning to understand the car’s handling when running in a tight field. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made, but I know I have to have confidence in the grip and downforce I have, to make best use of this in qualifying and the race.”
Cole carries the lead of the National Class into the second round of the series in three weeks time at Silverstone circuit, Northamptonshire. The Cooper Tires British F3 International Series will race on the Grand Prix circuit at the home of the British Formula One Grand Prix, 1-2 May 2010.
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25 March 2010.../British Formula 3 National Class driver, James Cole, concluded pre-season testing at Silverstone yesterday and is now preparing for the first round of the Cooper Tires British F3 Series to be held over the Easter weekend. After over 1500 testing miles, Cole is confident that he has the competitiveness to be winning in National Class.
The 21-year-old Merseysider first drove his T-Sport F3 car at Snetterton in February, followed by further testing at Rockingham at the beginning of March and a day at Cole’s home track, Oulton Park. The Silverstone test draws an end to pre-season track pretarations and the focus now moves to the first race weekend of the thirty race championship.
Cole has graduated to F3 from the British Formula Ford Championship, taking the title crown at the penultimate round of this series last year. He says of his 2010 campaign, “After winning the Formula Ford championship it was a natural progression to F3. The cars are quite different though, so I’ve really needed the testing days to become acclimatised to the car, particularly the greater downforce and grip levels.
“The first day of testing was an eye-opener, spending time getting used to the amount of downforce I had. There was a bit of a fear factor moment, feeling that I was going to crash if I pushed harder but knowing that the car had the downforce to take the corners faster. I think it is heightened by coming straight from a Formula Ford car which has zero downforce and is always moving about. I’m appreciating the grip levels now, gaining the confidence to use them and understanding how to make the most of the downforce available to me.”
“After over six days in the car and working closely with my engineers I think I’ve been making good progress, but the real test is the race weekend and particularly the qualifying session. At that point I’ll have a better idea of where I am performance-wise and hopefully we’ll be the quickest National Class car, as well as knocking on the door of the top ten International Class cars. It’s not going to be easy as I have a very strong team mate and he’s going to be my biggest opposition in National Class. He’s usually been quicker than me in testing as he has had more experience of ‘winged’ cars, but it’s always different when you’re racing.”
Cole has a roster of commercial partners supporting his British F3 campaign including DHL, Racestar, Highland Spring, The Beatles Story and Maui Jim.
The first round of the British F3 Series kicks off at Oulton Park circuit, Cheshire over the Easter weekend, with racing on Saturday 3 April and Monday 5 April.
James Cole, the newly crowned MSA Formula Ford Champion of Great Britain, enjoyed his first taste of Formula 3 power at Silverstone when he went behind the wheel of a National Class Carlin Motorsport Dallara last week.
British Formula Three Official Websitephotographs: www.jakobebrey.com
JAMES COLE CROWNED 2009 MSA BRITISH FORMULA FORD CHAMPION
05 October 2009…/Merseyside driver James Cole (21) secured the 2009 MSA Formula Ford Champion title at the final round of the Championship, held at Castle Combe, Wiltshire on Saturday. The Jamun Racing driver had dominated from the start, leading the standings since the opening round at Oulton Park, and taking seven wins and a further eight podiums during the course of the season. Cole scored 597 points during the year to beat his main title rival, American driver, Josef Newgarden.
Cole provisionally clinched the Formula Ford title two weeks ago at the penultimate round at Brands Hatch, following the disqualification of Newgarden on a technical irregularity. However, with the results from Brands Hatch still pending appeal, Cole had to secure fourth or above in the opening race at Castle Combe to guarantee the title.
A sensible drive in race one at Castle Combe saw Cole finish just shy of the podium to a solid fourth place, just the result he required. Cole crossed the line and could eventually celebrate being the 2009 Formula Ford Driver’s Champion. Ironically, in the final race of the season, the second and final race of the season at the Castle Combe circuit, Cole took ninth place, his only finish outside of the top six all season.
Cole concluded, “It’s been a fantastic season for me this year, I’ve really enjoyed the racing and I feel I it has been the making of me as a driver. Formula Ford is a great series to develop key racing skills and is the perfect foundation for a young driver. It certainly hasn’t been easy this season, as I’ve had some tough races but it has been character building and this experience will hopefully benefit me in the future.
“After my first season of Formula Ford last year, I had laid the foundations for this year and my only goal was to take the title. I knew the car, the team and the circuits, which was definitely an advantage for me. To take the pole and win at Oulton Park at the start of the year set us up perfectly for the championship. However, leading the championship right from the start meant that I was always having to look over my shoulder as well as staying focused. I think it is easier to chase rather than be chased in this championship, but thankfully I was able to keep my rivals at bay all season.”
“I’m really proud to be a Formula Ford Champion, especially when you look at the careers of some of the past champions. I could potentially look to a future in sportscars or head up the path towards Formula 1, so it’s a fantastic stepping stone as a junior formula. I don’t think my achievement has really sunk in yet, but I’m relieved that the title is finally mine and was settled on the track.”
16 August, 2009: James Cole enjoyed a 21st birthday weekend to remember at Silverstone, the season-long MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain points leader returning to the winner's circle after a three-month absence and increasing his championship advantage. http://www.britishformulaford.co.uk
James Cole (19) is bidding to end his second season in motorsport by winning the Formula Ford Festival, the blue ribband event in the calendar, being staged a Brands Hatch this weekend.
“I really would like to spring a surprise and win the Festival”, said James who was preparing for a busy week of testing and qualifying which culminates with the final on Sunday.
He was talking at Donnington Park last weekend where he collected an eighth and two ninth places in his three races at the final rounds of the 2008 British Formula Ford Championship.
A member of the leading Jamun Racing Services team, James finished a highly impressive 10th overall in the 25 round championship in his Mygale SJ08.
He came to notice of his present team after winning the BRSCC NW Formula Ford Post 89 and Class A Championships and the “Star of Anglesey” series last year. And James has already shown his prowess at Brands Hatch where, in last year’s “Kent” Festival final, he finished fifth.
One of the first young British drivers chosen for the new this year Motor Sports Association (MSA) British Race Academy, James is managed by his father Chas Cole, the music and sport promoter from CMP Entertainment.
This weekend one of James’ biggest rivals will be his team-mate Wayne Boyd (17), winner of the 2008 British Formula Ford Championship, who is also managed by Chas.
Winning the Formula Ford Festival has proved a major stepping stone for Formula One hopefuls including current Honda start Jenson Button, the winner in 1998.
James Cole finished in top six at Formula Ford Festival Brands Hatch, 19 October 2008: James took tle chequered flag in the final of his first Formula Ford Duratec Festival in 6th position at Brands Hatch.
I would like to thenk Jamun Racing ˆ I have had a great first Formula Ford season and this weekend has been a good result for me." James Cole
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