Team Toyota GB’s Tom Ingram believes there remains “more to extract” from his new-for-2019 Toyota Corolla, given the car is still early in its development phase.
The 2018 runner-up also gave credit to the WSR-run Team BMW outfit, who have already secured a victory and now a pole position in the opening two rounds from drivers Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington.
Despite not enjoying that level of success yet, Ingram told TouringCars.Net he was happy to start the season consistently, and knowing they haven’t maximised the full performance of the Corolla is a good position to be in.
“We’ve been consistent and it’s always difficult – of course it is – to start with a new car,” said Ingram.
“The WSR lads have really come out fighting and full credit to them, they’ve done a very good job to get the car turned around and be at the front.
“As we’ve seen, it’s difficult to put a new car into the mix and be quick. So we’ve done a good job so far, but we know there’s still more to extract. That’s a nice place to be, rather than knowing we’ve maximised everything from the car already.
“I think tomorrow we can be confident that we’re going to have a very strong car, and we’re going to be able to race very very hard which is exciting.”
Ingram secured a trio of points finishes at the season-opener at Brands Hatch, with a best result of fifth in the second encounter.
Ahead of today’s [28 April] three races at Donington Park, Ingram has qualified sixth but carries little weight and is positive of going forward.
“There was no consistency to that session at all and I think realistically there were probably only two laps which were usable over the course of the whole run,” said Ingram.
“Thankfully we got them in on one of those laps, Colin [Turkington] obviously got a couple in. It was just a qualifying session of tyre temperature as well, and I think that’s what caught a lot of us out.
“I still don’t think we really know the pace of everyone us around us yet, we’re still in the dark because it’s another qualifying and another day we’ve had where nobody has really been able to see the true pace of anybody.
“We’re OK, we’re confident that our performance is stronger potentially in the dry just because we have a little bit more knowledge of the car in the dry. So confident for the races, it’s obviously a big day for us, so it’s good to be up at the sharp end.
“I think we’ll be certainly very strong in the first race given the people we have around us, and I’m really confident for it.”
Ingram, who this year enjoys manufacturer backing from Toyota, has a lot of support this weekend as the ‘home’ round for Toyota, with some 4,500 people expected to attend today.
He admits the support comes with a “huge amount of pressure,” but also a lot of pride and excitement.
“We’ve got 4,500 from Toyota Manufacturing UK coming along, which is amazing to see the support that we’re going to have,” said Ingram.
“At the same time it comes with a huge amount of pressure, but pressure and quite a lot of excitement and pride that we’re going to be on the grid seeing people cheering for us and willing us on, that’s going to be great to see.”
The opening British Touring Car Championship race of the day is scheduled to get underway at 11:35 BST.