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Tom Ingram aiming for further success with Speedworks

Tom Ingram is aiming to build upon a brace of breakthrough podium finishes in last seasons Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as he begins preparations ahead of his third consecutive season behind the wheel of the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.

Ingram, who graduated to the BTCC in 2013, claimed his first podium following a scintillating duel with former KX Academy mentor Jason Plato at the final race of the day at the Rockingham meeting last September, before the 22 year-old doubled up his tally in the second encounter at the Brands Hatch finale five weeks later.

The former Ginetta GT Supercup and Ginetta Junior champion believes that the move by Team BMR to become Manufacturer entries with the new Subaru Levorg Sports Tourer strengthens his position within the collection of drivers chasing maiden independent crowns, and hopes that his third campaign in the UK’s most competitive championship proves even more fruitful than his first two.

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“Our goal for this year is just expanding on where we finished in 2015.” commented Ingram.

“Certainly the first half of the year wasn’t as strong as our second half of the year. Coming into year three with Speedworks, now we’re looking at race wins. Now BMR have gone up to Manufacturers status, it means my focus is now on trying to win an independent championship – there’s no reason that is not open to us. Finishing fifth in the independents last year, with WIX and BMR ahead of us, puts us in quite a strong position. It’s going to be a tight fight, but we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be aiming for more podiums and race wins, that’s for sure.”

Ingram also believes the new RML kit, introduced this season by series organisers TOCA as an alternative to the previous GPRM technical components, will serve to level the playing field even further, and provides every team with an opportunity to pull themselves towards the sharp end of the field when the series reconvenes at Brands Hatch in April.

However, the High Wycombe racer is also trying to remain realistic, pointing out that those with the greatest winter testing mileage stand the strongest chance of fighting for honours from the very first round.

“It’s going to level the playing field, of course it is. Everyone is starting now from rock bottom, and we’ve all got to get our heads around how these new parts are going to work. The principal is going to be very similar to what we had.” said Ingram.

“However, it’s going to be the tweaks, the things that you between race one and race two and between qualifying and the racing, that’s what is going to make the difference for this year. We’ve got a little bit of testing planned, we’re going out to Portugal in the middle to the end of February and then we’re going to run a little bit of testing when we get back.”

“Unfortunately, it’s going to be the guys that do the most amount of testing over the winter are going to be at the front come the season start. We shall see, we’re going to be going into it with our heads and tails held high after how we finished 2015 and certainly with aspirations to be better for 2016.”

Ingram will also benefit from an extended garage of allies in the coming campaign, with Matt Simpson set to contest his maiden campaign with Speedworks Motorsport behind the wheel of Gordon Shedden’s 2015 title-winning Honda Civic Type-R.

At the same time, double series race-winner Rob Austin has made the switch to Simon Belcher’s Handy Motorsport team, who have run with support from Speedworks since their debut in 2014. Whilst the identity of Austin’s team-mate remains a mystery, with Simon Belcher confirming last week he will be taking a sabbatical from driving duties this season, Ingram believes the new additions will only serve to strengthen their package.

“It’s going to take him [Matt Simpson] a little bit of time to adjust. I’ve no doubt he’s going to be there, he’s been quick in everything he’s driven before. It’s going to take him a little bit of time to get his head around front wheel drive and a heavier car than he’s used to.”

“It’s certainly better for having Rob [Austin] on board. It means we’re going to have a little bit of cross setup and cross data that we can work with. It’s going to help myself, it’s going to help Rob and everybody in the team. That’s only a good thing.”

Ingram is also expected to unveil his new livery at some point between now and the official Season Launch at Donington Park on March 22nd, having run a promotional interim livery during his appearance at the Autosport International Show in January.

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