James Cole will race with Team HARD in the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Cole, who finished second in the National Class of British F3 championship in 2010 and who won the British Formula Ford title in 2009, most recently competed in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, although he didn't compete anywhere in 2012.

Now however, he has now decided to switch from single seaters to tin-tops to relaunch his career and will pilot one of the team's two NGTC class Vauxhall Insignias this year, the other being driven by reigning Clio Cup champion Jack Goff.

Tom Onslow-Cole will also race with Team HARD this season, having inked a deal to drive one of the new Volkswagen Passat CCs.

"The undeniable stronghold that the BTCC has on media coverage in the UK, with the live ITV4 package has led to this very exciting new challenge for me," Cole told btcc.net. "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."

As part of his move to the BTCC, Cole will also launch a new road safety campaign this year: "It will be far reaching and high profile with a relevance to every road user, young and old," explained the 24-year-old. "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.

"Now that I've signed I can start to finalise the details and finalise the strategy for the season ahead."

Team HARD boss Tony 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 a very competitive and skilful driver in single-seaters and I think he'll quickly find his feet in the 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."