Team Toyota GB’s Tom Ingram says he feels a “huge amount of pride” after securing the first British Touring Car Championship victory for the new Toyota Corolla in race three at Donington Park.
The 2018 runner-up qualified sixth for race one and made up one position, before slipping back to tenth in race two on the harder tyre.
He was then drawn on reverse-grid pole for the final encounter, and never relinquished his lead having successfully negotiated a safety car restart on lap eight.
Ingram admitted that he felt confident of success coming into the weekend, after a positive test day immediately after the Brands Hatch media day.
“What a great weekend, I’m really pleased with it. Look, we came into the weekend with high hopes,” said Ingram.
“We knew that after we came testing here the day after the media day, the car felt really strong.
“We were really excited, we knew that after Brands [Hatch], Donington was going to suit us a little bit more. We had a little bit more data in the car, and it just worked really well.
“It was difficult in that second race because we were on the harder tyre, and it was really just a case of trying to stay inside the top 12 to stand a chance at the reverse draw, which was really important because of course that’s what kind of gave us the opportunity.”
Ingram admitted that while some may say the victory came easier as he was one of just three soft-shod runners in the top ten, he insisted the victory had been the result of much hard work, and he felt he controlled the race well from the front.
“It was almost the perfect story,” he said. “And unfortunately will look at that and say, ‘Ah he was given it.’ And the answer to that is, fuck off!
“Because we had to work bloody hard for that. Rob [Collard] had good pace, I was more than happy for him to come and drive up to the back of us, I had the pace in hand towards the end of the race.
“I was saving tyres so that if he did decide to get a little bit closer, I could open it up. My ballpark was about 1.5 seconds, if he came within that, I’d try to open it up again.
“It felt in control, I also had to be mindful that if we did have a safety car at any point in the race, I needed a little bit in hand to try and gap him again.
“It was really good, really controlled. Everyone was fantastic in the team, it was really, really enjoyable.”
The win marked the first victory for Speedworks as a manufacturer-backed team, which Ingram ranks as one of the proudest moments of his career.
To have secured the win at the ‘home round’ for Toyota made the moment “really special” because of all the support.
“It’s certainly up there, for the support we’ve had,” said Ingram. “You couldn’t have written what happened today, it’s such a great moment.
“It’s such a privilege to have been able to win in front of that many home fans, that it is a really special moment
“A great weekend all in all, amazing the support we had in the stands and all the fans that we’ve got. But also from everybody at Toyota and Ginsters, it’s been such an amazing weekend commercially as well as on track.
“We can look back at this weekend with a huge amount of pride. It’s the first manufacturer win for Speedworks, the first manufacturer win for Toyota in 20+ years. What a great day.”