Tom Ingram sets the pace at Season Launch pre-season test

Tom Ingram sets the pace at Season Launch pre-season test

Tom Ingram

Tom Ingram emerged quickest from the only official British Touring Car Championship pre-season test ahead of Rob Austin and the returning Chris Smiley.

Ingram clocked a quickest time of 1:09.995 in the second hour of testing, just half a second shy of the qualifying lap record around the 1.95 mile Donington Park circuit, to edge out Austin by 0.114 seconds.

With Dunlop predicting their new SportMaxx compound could improve lap times by as much as 0.5 seconds per mile on last season’s pace, Ingram’s pace was all the more ominous amid rumours Speedworks elected to run their session with ballast onboard the Toyota Avensis.

The Mercedes A-Class duo of Adam Morgan and Aiden Moffat made a late surge to fourth and sixth respectively, sandwiching the Eurotech Honda of Jack Goff.

Tom Chilton finished the session as the highest of ten manufacturer-backed entries, claiming eighth on the timesheets with a 1:10.658 in Power Maxed Racing’s new Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Team-mate Senna Proctor struggled with mileage, completing just 14 laps.

With a number of teams disguising pace ahead of the series opener at Brands Hatch in a fortnight, 17th for Jason Plato was the highest Subaru fared, with Honda only marginally better in 11th with defending champion Gordon Shedden, who complained of brake issues early on.

Other teams spent the four-hour test ironing out problems on their new challengers – BMW finally clocked some mileage on their new B48 engine amidst teething issues, whilst Dave Newsham was another to struggle with braking in the Chevrolet Cruze.

Four red flag stoppages punctuated proceedings, with rookie Luke Davenport kicking off proceedings after exiting the circuit at the Old Hairpin – beaching his Shredded Wheat-backed Ford Focus ST in the process. Team-mate Martin Depper also brought the session to a halt after kicking gravel up across the third sector.

Will Burns’ first laps in the Volkswagen CC were halted in the final hour as the front-left wheel came loose and detached itself, whilst an off for Aron Taylor-Smith’s MG6 completed the interruptions.

The test provided thirty of the championship’s capacity thirty-two entrants with valuable mileage before Brands Hatch, with several set to round off their pre-season running before heading to Kent. For now though, an Avensis sits atop the pile for the second year in succession.

Session results

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 55 1:09.995 0.000
2 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 62 1:10.109 0.114
3 22 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 55 1:10.193 0.198
4 33 Adam MORGAN Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 42 1:10.197 0.202
5 31 Jack GOFF Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 51 1:10.246 0.251
6 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 38 1:10.347 0.352
7 12 Mike EPPS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 46 1:10.607 0.612
8 2 M Tom CHILTON Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 45 1:10.658 0.663
9 17 Dave NEWSHAM BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 42 1:10.677 0.682
10 48 Ollie JACKSON AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 40 1:10.732 0.737
11 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 51 1:10.760 0.765
12 5 M Rob COLLARD Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 41 1:10.776 0.781
13 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 51 1:10.802 0.807
14 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 56 1:10.815 0.820
15 3 Mat JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 38 1:10.873 0.878
16 7 Stephen JELLEY Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 75 1:10.909 0.914
17 99 M Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 28 1:10.943 0.948
18 24 Jake HILL TAG Racing Volkswagen CC 18 1:10.983 0.988
19 20 M James COLE Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 45 1:11.057 1.062
20 61 Will BURNS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 54 1:11.071 1.076
21 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 125i M Sport 58 1:11.173 1.178
22 40 M Árón TAYLOR-SMITH MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 40 1:11.253 1.258
23 18 M Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 16 1:11.255 1.260
24 30 Martin DEPPER Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 60 1:11.258 1.263
25 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 19 1:11.306 1.311
26 23 M Daniel LLOYD MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 27 1:11.317 1.322
27 66 Josh COOK Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 38 1:11.378 1.383
28 10 Ant WHORTON-EALES AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 35 1:11.403 1.408
29 300 Luke DAVENPORT Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 22 1:11.535 1.540
30 303 M Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 34 1:11.807 1.812

Complete session results.