Toyota’s Tom Ingram is aiming to ‘put the record straight’ on a ‘jarring’ Oulton Park statistic this weekend, as he heads to Cheshire for the fifth meeting of the British Touring Car Championship season.
Ingram has yet to stand on the podium at Oulton Park – the only track on the calendar where the 25-year-old has yet to finish in the top three, with his current best result being a fourth in 2016.
But before he can think about a podium, Ingram knows he must also qualify well at Oulton Park, where overtaking has been a challenge for drivers in the past.
The event also has special significance for the Speedworks Motorsport-run Toyota squad, who are based in the nearby Cheshire town of Northwich.
“I was reminded last week of the slightly jarring statistic that Oulton is the only circuit on the BTCC calendar at which I haven’t yet been on the podium,” said Ingram. “
“So, one of the first objectives this weekend has to be to set that record straight.
“For me, Oulton Park is one of the best race weekends of the season. From a driver’s perspective, it’s a thrill ride from start to finish, all challenging corners and undulations and massively rewarding when you get it right.
“Qualifying counts for more than at most circuits simply because it really isn’t easy to overtake there when you start further down the order, and success ballast plays a significant role when it comes to extracting single-lap speed.
“I think the Toyota Corolla should be well-suited to the track, though, and one of the advantages of conceding a little bit of ground at Croft is that we go to Oulton carrying less weight than we have done previously.
“With that in mind, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to qualify inside the top ten and then move forward from there.”
Christian Dick, Team Principal of Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, is hoping that heading into the event with less ballast on board (Ingram has just 6 kg) together with the new shorter wheelbase Corolla will lead to improved fortunes this year.
“On the track, [Oulton] hasn’t necessarily been the kindest to us,” said Dick, “but we go there this year with a new car for the first time in the Toyota Corolla and confident of challenging up at the sharp end.
“Qualifying will be key, as it invariably is at Oulton given the difficulty of overtaking there; that’s something that has hamstrung us in recent seasons as we’ve tended to arrive heavy on ballast, which takes a real toll.
“This year, we’ll be much lighter and that will hopefully stand us in good stead for a strong weekend to send us into the summer break with our tails up.”