Rising star Tom Ingram will remain with Speedworks Motorsport for a fourth consecutive British Touring Car Championship season as the team targets a push for the Independents Trophy this campaign.
Ingram enjoyed his strongest season to date in 2016 with a brace of race victories, including an impressive first-ever win at the series’ curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, amid six podium finishes that eventually delivered him to 10th overall in the points.
The 23-year old has made a meteoric rise through the ranks of the TOCA package, including titles in both Ginetta Juniors (2010) and both categories of the Ginetta GT4 Supercup (2011, 2013) before his switch to the BTCC with Christian Dick’s Speedworks outfit.
Ingram proved to be the most consistent qualifier last season, with two pole positions and nine top-ten starting slots from ten events. The High Wycombe-based racer is now keen to add the same consistency to his race results in pursuit of Independents glory.
“It was a very easy decision to stay with Speedworks,” concurred three-time Ginetta Champion and former British Karting Champion Ingram. “In a championship as ultra-competitive and unpredictable as the BTCC, the importance of continuity can never be overstated.
“We made tremendous progress last season, and to win our first race together in the very first round was an incredible achievement. Our qualifying pace was superb and our race pace was equally strong. Quite frankly, I don’t see anybody else in our position and with our level of resources doing a better job out there.
“Last year was both mine and Speedworks’ first experience of competing regularly up at the front in the BTCC; yes, I’ve won races and championships in lower categories and Christian has done likewise in other series as a team owner, but the BTCC is a whole different ballgame and that meant there was a lot of learning to be done in the full glare of 20 million people!
“It’s vital in the BTCC to make hay on the good days and make the most of the bad days – but last year, our bad days were very, very bad. In races two and three at Brands Hatch Indy, Donington Park and Thruxton early in the season, we scored a grand total of two points and then Rockingham was quite literally a pointless weekend.
“In nine of the 30 races, we didn’t score at all and in two more we picked up just a single point. If we’d been more consistent and averaged just eighth place in each of those races, we’d have won the championship – I think that’s a measure of how much potential there is inside this team, which is hugely exciting heading into 2017.
“The benefit of all the experience we have gained will galvanise us and we now have a much stronger package all-round and a completely different mindset and approach. Having broken our duck, that box has been ticked and we can focus on the bigger picture. We have proved we deserve to be here and will go into the new season with a lot more confidence – whereas last year we were simply hoping to be in the mix, this year we will be aiming to win.
“The key will be to finish races, stay out of trouble and keep scoring points – and ultimately, I want to be going to Brands Hatch in October in with a shot at the overall title.”