Following a podium finish in the 24H Series season-opener, the Hankook 24H Dubai, Ram Racing has committed to the full 2015 championship with its Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
The series, which became a full FIA championship this year, includes three 12-hour races and three 24-hour races, making it the largest long-distance endurance racing series in the world.
Ram Racing, the 2013 European Le Mans Series GTLM championship winner, will enter the front-running GT3 Pro class and has confirmed that British professional racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole will join them at each of the remaining five rounds, after the 27-year old impressed in Dubai.
“We took a bit of a gamble on Onslow-Cole in Dubai,” commented Team Principal Dan Shufflebottom. “He’d not driven the SLS competitively before and had only once contested the race in a diesel Golf. However, he was worth every penny and in every session was within the top five. He’s great for the team on-track and off-track and we’re all pleased he’s signed with us for the year.”
Onslow-Cole, who contested all but one of the 24H Series races last year commented: “After competing in most of the 24H Series races last year I’m excited to be coming back and contesting the full championship. My relationship with Ram Racing has gone from strength-to-strength and, after a successful outing in Dubai, I couldn’t be happier to be racing with them this season.”
The team is currently in talks with a second professional driver to join Onslow-Cole for the entire season. In the championship’s 24-hour races, the team will call on support from other top GT racers as well as fielding team-regular Cheerag Arya (IN).
“The calendar for this year is really strong,” concluded Shufflebottom. “Long-distance endurance racing is becoming more and more popular and, when you start to take 24 hour racing to places like Paul Ricard, you know you are involved in something that is going to be huge in the future. Hats off to all at Creventic for identifying what teams, drivers and fans want and for running a great series. We’re looking forward to being a part of it this year.”
The series will form the cornerstone of a 2015 season for Onslow-Cole, who is currently discussing opportunities with World Endurance Championship and Blancpain Endurance Series teams, as well as investigating a VLN campaign alongside long-standing team-mate Paul White.
“It’s been a very busy winter season but things are really starting to come good.” Commented Onslow-Cole. “Ram Racing is one of the most professional and impressive teams I have ever worked with. The SLS was new to the team in Dubai, but you wouldn’t have known it – it’s great to have faith in your team and I’m looking forward to racing the full 24 Hour Series season with them.
“The Mercedes sounds quite raw and the controls look simple but it is actually a very refined machine. Having driven most GT3 cars, I’d say it is one of the easiest to jump in and drive but, like with anything, the skill is in finding those final few tenths. I was pleased to get to grips with it so quickly in Dubai and, despite taking it easy in my first stint, came away with a front running green lap average.”
The 24H season continues with the Hankook 12H Italy-Mugello on 13/14 March at Circuit Mugello in Tuscany, Italy. The 12-hour event is split over two days, with four hours taking place on the afternoon of Friday 13 March and the remaining eight taking place on Saturday 14 March.
“Mugello is a great circuit,” continued Onslow-Cole. “It is set in a basin in the Tuscan hills and has an undulating series of fast turns and a nice long fast straight. It’s all very civilised and European – race for a few hours, stop for dinner and a good night sleep and come back the next day and finish things off!”