James Cole has elected to leave the RCIB Insurance Racing squad at the half way stage of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship season.

The 24-year-old joined the Team HARD. run outfit for his first foray into tin tops having elected to make the switch from single-seaters, where he previously competed in Formula Ford, F3 and F2.

Using his entry into the championship to promote his 'Drivecool' initiative - which encourages drivers to stick to 20mph in residential areas - Cole was sitting 20th in the championship having picked up eleven points to date, with his best finish at the wheel of his Vauxhall Insignia being 13th place at both Brands Hatch and Oulton Park.

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"This was a very hard decision to make, the BTCC is a great championship," he said. "I moved into touring cars this season and it was meant to be the first chapter of my education into driving a tin-top car, but I didn't feel that I was getting any real grounding into the skills needed by working with Team HARD. That has led me to seek new opportunities.

"My mechanics worked tirelessly, and I would like to thank them all for their efforts, but I felt that the best decision for my future would be to leave the team. I will now look for opportunities with other partners who share the same vision as me and those with the capability of giving me the tools and the experience I need to progress as a top-level touring car driver."

Cole is now working on plans to cement what he calls a 'long-term future' in the BTCC, with an announcement expected in the coming weeks.