Toyota’s Tom Ingram is predicting that he will have a ‘completely different weekend’ at Thruxton this weekend compared to May, as the British Touring Car Championship makes its second visit to Hampshire in 2019.
Earlier in the season, in just Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport’s third event in the new Corolla, the 25-year-old took three solid points finishes, including two top ten results, at the high-speed Thruxton circuit.
After claiming a second win for the Corolla last time out at Snetterton, including an impressive maiden pole position for the new car, Ingram is returning to the Hampshire circuit full of confidence this weekend.
“I love Thruxton – it’s proper old-school and truly rewards bravery and commitment,” said Ingram, who finished 12th, eighth and fifth back in May. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to have a completely different kind of weekend to the one we had in May.
“Everybody back at base has worked so hard to extract every last little bit of performance out of the Corolla over the summer, and the test at Snetterton was so important for our development of the car.”
Ingram feels that the extra track time gained with the car during the two-day tyre test at Snetterton last month, combined with further development work at the team’s Northwich base, has allowed the team to take strides forward with the new-for-2019 car.
“The way a BTCC race weekend works, once you’ve scrubbed in tyres and done your housekeeping in practice, you’ve run out of time to try any major changes.
“The test allowed us to do just that, and we found a lot of small improvements that have all added up to make a pretty big difference to our performance level.
“It feels like we’ve genuinely turned a corner, and that we can go into race weekends again confident of challenging for victory.”
After performing strongly at the technical Snetterton 300 circuit, including securing an outright pole position, Ingram is confident for the high-speed turns of the Thruxton circuit.
“The Corolla really came into its own through the high-speed sections at Snetterton – it felt phenomenal in the fast corners, properly planted – and that bodes well for Thruxton.
“Similarly encouraging was the way it looked after its tyres in all three races, which is crucial at Thruxton. That was something we worked very hard on with the Avensis, and we have adopted the same approach with the Corolla.
“We always said the first half of this year was about learning, understanding and developing the car, and the second half would be about pushing for poles, podiums and race wins.
“We came out at Snetterton and did exactly what we had promised to do – and there’s no reason not to target more of the same at Thruxton this weekend.”
Speedworks Team Principal Christian Dick added that the results from the last meeting have buoyed the team, as the Corolla proved its pace with full ballast onboard and with a variety of different tyre compounds fitted.
“We started out on the back foot at Thruxton earlier in the year by qualifying lower than we should have done,” said Dick. “[That] compromised our race day chances, but we still came away with a full house of points finishes and we’ve taken a clear and significant step forward since then.
“The win at Snetterton proved that the progress we made with the Corolla over the summer break is real – it worked both with and without weight, on all three tyre compounds and in race and qualifying trim alike, and Tom led more than twice as many laps as anybody else over the course of the weekend.
“With that in mind, I’m confident of a much stronger qualifying performance than last time at Thruxton and from there, we want to push for more victories – and I think we have a great chance of doing just that.
“We’ve gained a little bit of success ballast following the results at Snetterton, but we’re still going to be reasonably light, and of all the tracks on the calendar, Thruxton is probably the least damaging at which to carry weight.”