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Gilham signs single seater convert

Former British Formula Three and Formula Two racer James Cole will switch to the British Touring Car Championship in 2013, when he gets behind the wheel of a Team HARD Vauxhall Insignia.

The 24 year-old, who did not race during 2011, won the British Formula Ford championship in 2009 before graduating to British F3 in 2010 and subsequently Formula 2 in 2011. After scoring only two top ten finishes in F2, the Liverpool racer did not compete in 2012 and is now looking to the BTCC to develop his career in tin-tops.

Cole will be involved in promoting a new road-safety initiative to be launched later this month and hopes to use the BTCC as a platform for this purpose. “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,” explained Cole.

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“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,” continued Cole. “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.

“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.”

Commenting on his latest signing, Gilham added:

“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 skillful driver in single seaters 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.”

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