Tom Ingram goes into the final weekend of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship as a ‘rank outsider’ in the title battle, but the Toyota driver says he will ‘come out fighting’ as he clings on to hopes of the championship crown.
After taking a double win last time out at Silverstone, to bring his win tally for the year up to four, Ingram has moved to 61 points adrift of series leader Colin Turkington heading into the season finale at Brands Hatch.
The Toyota driver thus keeps his slight championship hopes alive and means he enters a third straight season in with a chance of the title at the final round of the year.
“Given where we were back at the start of 2019, I’m absolutely made up to be heading to Brands GP still in the reckoning for the third year in a row, especially in a series as ultra-competitive as the BTCC,” said Ingram.
“Obviously we’re rank outsiders given the points situation, but it’s never over until it’s over and we will push right to the very end.
“I don’t think we’ll be quite as super-quick as we were at Silverstone, but I am confident we’ll be up towards the sharp end again and we’ll certainly come out fighting!”
In only the first season for the Speedworks Motorsport-developed Corolla, Ingram says he is proud of what has been achieved in such a short space of time on the project.
“The development of the new Toyota Corolla was never going to be a five-minute job, but we’ve just been going about our business, quietly getting on with it and learning and understanding more all the time – and that has been reflected in consistent improvements, particularly during the second half of the season.
“We’ve definitely turned a corner over the last few race weekends, and to enter the final event inside the top five in the championship is something we can be very proud of as a team.
“We know the areas we want to work on this weekend, and I think we’re in a really exciting position now, with plenty more still to come from the Corolla.
“We go to Brands all guns blazing and in full-on attack mode, so let’s see where that leaves us when everything shakes out on Sunday afternoon…”
Speedworks Team Principal Christian Dick is hoping that the team’s ‘nothing to lose’ attitude will gain them a couple more places in the championship standings by the end of the season.
“It’s incredible to be a title contender going to Brands Hatch for the third year in a row, especially when you consider some of the gambles and risks we have taken with the Corolla that haven’t always paid off – that progress is enormous credit to everybody involved in this project,” said Dick.
“We haven’t played safe by any means, and we have learned so much along the way. We’ve made huge strides forward, which has become particularly apparent in recent events.
“If you look at how we’ve performed over the second half of the season, we have every justification to be very positive and I fully expect us to be on the front-running pace at Brands Hatch. Our form at Silverstone can’t help but lift the confidence of everybody inside the team, and there’s no reason at all why we shouldn’t be really competitive again.
“We will enter the weekend carrying a little bit more success ballast than before which will make for a slightly tougher challenge in qualifying and race one, but I don’t expect it to hold us back too much around a lap as fast-and-flowing as Brands’ GP layout.
“There’s no question that the championship is the longest of long shots, but given how fractious things got between the top four at Silverstone, the potential is definitely there to pick up some pieces and perhaps gain a spot or two in the standings before season’s end – and we are obviously in a prime position to capitalise should it all kick off again.
“We have nothing to lose and don’t need to worry about anybody else. We can just focus on ourselves and shoot for more podiums and race wins, which would set us up nicely for a proper title challenge next year.”