James Cole is a British racing driver who competed in the British Touring Car Championship between 2013 and 2018, scoring one victory, in 2017 at Rockingham.
Before starting a career in touring car racing, Cole was successful in open-wheel racing, spending a season in the FIA Formula Two Championship, finishing second in National Class of the British Formula 3 Championship and taking two titles in Formula Ford.
Two-time Formula Ford champion early in a career
Born in August 1988 in Southport, Merseyside, James Cole made his racing debut at Formula Ford Festival in 2006. In 2007, he spent a season in the BRSCC North West Formula Ford, winning the championship title.
In 2008, he stepped into the British Formula Ford Championship with Jamun Racing. In his rookie season, he was without wins or podiums but then, in 2009, he dominated in the championship and won seven races, taking the championship title ahead of current IndyCar star Josef Newgarden.
Vice-champion in Formula 3, tough season in Formula 2
In 2010, Cole entered the British Formula 3 Championship with T-Sport, driving the #44 Dallara-Honda in the National class. He finished second in the points, behind Menasheh Idafar.
In 2011, James Cole made one more step up on the single-seater racing ladder, entering the FIA Formula Two Championship. He scored points in two races, finishing 20th in the final standings.
James Cole in 2013
BTCC debut with Tony Gilham's team in 2013
After spending a year out of racing in 2012, James Cole founds a future in touring car racing. He joined Tony Gilham's RCIB Insurance Racing in the British Touring Car Championship, driving the #20 Vauxhall Insignia. He was replaced after five rounds, scoring points five times in fifteen races.
For the 2014 BTCC season, Cole joined United Autosports to drive the #20 Toyota Avensis. He was in the points just three times over the 30-race season, finishing 26th in the points. In 2015, he was without a drive in the first half of the season, then joining Motorbase Performance to drive the #44 Ford Focus ST. He scored points seven times in fifteen races.
James Cole in 2014
Maiden BTCC victory with Team BMR's Subaru Levorg
For the 2016 BTCC season, James Cole joined Team BMR to drive the #20 Subaru Levorg GT for Silverline Subaru Racing. He struggled in the first season with a brand-new car, finishing just 25th in the points.
In 2017, Cole stayed with Team BMR. The results were disappointing in the first half of the season and he then recorded a streak of Top 5 results, finally scoring his maiden BTCC victory in the eight round at Rockingham Motor Speedway, where he started from pole in Race 1. At the end of the season, Cole was 16th in the points.
James Cole celebrates his maiden BTCC victory
Rejoining Motorbase Performance in 2018 BTCC season
For the 2018 BTCC season, James Cole made another change of a team, rejoining Motorbase Performance to drive the #20 Ford Focus RS under the banner of Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher. In the first part of the season, he was seven times in the points. Later, he reached two more podiums to finish just 21st in the points.
For 2019 BTCC season, Cole dropped out from a competition.