Cole settling at Subaru
James Cole is firmly into the swing of life as a member of the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing, with the quartet now pushing towards the head of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship pack.
Double champions Colin Turkington and Jason Plato are now regularly scrapping for podiums – solid points at the very least – with the former also joint leading the wins tally.
Cole is looking to learn from the wealth of knowledge gathered over years and hundreds of BTCC weekends by his experienced team-mates, and highlighted the openness of the BMR outfit as key to his learning process and the team’s wider success.
“The relationship between the engineers and the four drivers is very, very good,” said Cole. “Everything is kept open and it’s never in question.
“Colin and Jason are both very accepting of questions that I ask, as well as any Warren (Scott) has.
“They have years and years of experience which you would be silly not to try and use. They understand it’s for the greater good and if their help brings us along then it’s going to help them because it’ll push them along too.
“It’s a process, and our aim is a 1-2-3-4 on the grid and in races just to annoy everyone else! We’re not quite there yet but we’re definitely getting closer.”
Snetterton saw a unique result for the outfit, as all four of its Subaru Levorgs were placed in the top ten. Cole’s 10th was a sign of personal progress, with the Southport man looking to make his mark in the series.
“To have all the cars in the top ten at Snetterton was great. I let Warren through after some discussion on the radio as he was quicker and fighting with Matt Neal.
“It’s good to have that relationship where you’re there to help each other out. That’s what it’s about. It’s about where the team is at the end of the year as much as our own results.
“I still feel I haven’t yet proven myself in the championship but this is the closest I’ve been. My strategy for Snetterton was working out well until a driveshaft failure put me out of race two. Sometimes things happen and you just have to get on with it.”
Onto this weekend at Knockhill, Cole placed his Subaru into P14 while team-mate Plato showed just what the Levorg is ultimately capable of around the tight Scottish circuit with a stunning last-gasp pole position ahead of his 500th BTCC start.
With his half-term at Motorbase last season, Cole was just getting his head around the front-wheel drive Ford Focus. A return to rear drive at BMR has been to his benefit, given much of his career has been spent in such machinery – and Knockhill should provide characteristics to suit.
“It’s unique, it’s nothing like any track we race on in the UK up and down the country in the BTCC,” continued Cole. “It has its own set of challenges and we have to have our cars suited to the circuit.”
“It’s difficult to get right because a lot of the circuits we go to have similar characteristics in sections.
“We come here and it’s a completely different kettle of fish. It’s difficult to match to the car and to match it as a driver.
“Testing is limited around here and it’s not a circuit that we really go to. It’s about trying to recall memories and lessons learned from racing here in any other championship in the past and knowing all the little tricks.
“This car suits this circuit. Rear-wheel drive suits me a lot better and it’s making sense to me.
“I was just getting my head around the Motorbase Ford last year but I’ve grown up driving these cars. You get back in one and you feel at home and you’ve so much more mental room. In front-wheel drive cars I was thinking about everything much more. It should be organic and it just wasn’t.