Onslow-Cole’s guest appearance in Volkswagen Racing Cup goes well!
BTCC star, and brand ambassador for Milltek Sport, Tom Onslow-Cole made a guest appearance in the Volkswagen Racing Cup last weekend at Snetterton, England, and a memorable appearance it was too.
With thunderstorms severely affecting Saturday’s track action at Snetterton, VW Racing Cup qualifying was postponed until Sunday morning and, in sunny and dry conditions, Onslow-Cole, who signed up to race a Milltek Sport / KPM Scirocco R as practice for next weekend’s Snetterton BTCC rounds, was second fastest, 0.170s down on Joe Fulbrook who was on Pole in his Bora 1.8T for the first race.
from build-to-track with no shakedown time at all
Under threatening skies and spots of rain, the first of the day’s races suffered an aborted first start following a string of start line shunts. First to get squeezed into the barriers was young Gilbert, and he was followed in short order by the Golfs’ of Philip Morris and Nikhil Chopra; all three cars were eliminated from the weekend by the incidents, which necessitated a stoppage for barrier repairs.
The second start saw Fulbrook haring away from the pole once again, pursued by Onslow-Cole, who attacked several times around the twisty infield and again on to the Bentley Straight before finally finding a way around the Bora through the Nelson right-hander.
Fulbrook chased for all he was worth, but with the race shortened to a 10-minute sprint following the stoppage, Onslow-Cole held onto the lead and crossed the line 3.6 seconds ahead of Fulbrook – all the more impressive given that the Milltek / KPM Scirocco had gone from build-to-track with no shakedown time at all.
“It was a tough race,” said Onslow-Cole. “Joe was hard to get past and I couldn’t shake him off.” “I think my car was quicker in a straight line,” added Fulbrook, “but Tom drove well and fair play to him for a good win.”
elected for wets while others gambled on slick rubber
There was a rain shower before the off, but the track had started to dry as the cars made their way to the grid. The result was a mix of tyre choices, with most - including Onlsow-Cole - electing for wets while others gambled on slick rubber…this turned out to be instrumental in the order of events that followed.
Onslow-Cole moved through from row three and took the lead at the end of the opening lap and started to edge away from the pack. However, the track surface dried out rapidly and the balance of favour swung towards those who had chosen the slick tyres. Despite an extremely impressive effort, the wet tyres had taken a pounding on the track (see the photos below) by the chequered flag, he’d slipped back into to fifth place.
Post-Race Interview with Tom Onslow-Cole
Tom… Amazing VW Cup debut…Top step on your first outing…Talk us through it!
Cheers! It felt great! What an amazing meeting overall. I love the car and I have to take my hat off to both the guys at Milltek and KPM for running me all weekend and doing a simply spectacular job of setting everything up.
I spun it on a particularly hot lap
We were running on the ‘300’ configuration at Snett, which really favours the high-power cars, and although there were a couple of cars that could out-drag us on the straights, they were clearly heavier, as it was relatively easy to haul them back in through the corners.
This really helped me during Qualifying…although it was my first time in the car, KPM had done a great job, and the car felt very neutral, which gave me confidence from the start. Perhaps a little bit too much though, as I spun it on a particularly hot lap (see the highlights video below). Being a brand-new car, we also had a slight fuel surge issue, but even with that, I was able to get 2nd, being only a tenth off pole. Was happy enough with that!
The team had quickly rectified the fuelling problem, so I was looking forward to Race 1. This was slightly frustrating to begin with as we had a couple of restarts after crashes behind us, making it a short race of just 5 laps. This was a nice simple race to report on! Got a good start, slipped into first place and stayed there until the end. Lovely! We just beat the rain on this race, so we were keen to see how things would develop for Race 2.
The weather for Race 2 was tricky. The team were trying to work out which tyre would be best, and as it was their car, I felt it best to let them choose what set-up to run with. With several reports and visuals saying that much of the circuit was wet, we ended up running with a full-wet set-up. As I began my first lap, I realised that it was a lot drier than we all thought. Starting from a reverse grid slot mid pack, I was able to get to first place, but as everyone else’s slicks warmed up; my wets were struggling to keep up with the dry pace, allowing them to drive around me. As the tread blocks wore down, the car was getting progressively quicker, but sadly it was only good enough for 5th at the flag. It was still a lot of fun though!
I have to say, I found the Volkswagen Cup a superb series, with some talented drivers and a really superb atmosphere. I managed to talk to most of the competitors over the course of the meeting and they are a great bunch. Thanks for having me along guys…it was very enjoyable!
Although Onslow-Cole wasn’t eligible to score any points in the VW Cup, Sunday's races served as handy practice for the Snetterton BTCC meeting this coming weekend (11/12 August).
Current Driver Standings