Tom Ingram and Speedworks motorsport will part ways for the 2021 British Touring Car Championship season, after competing together for the past seven years.
Ingram joined the BTCC for the 2014 season, making his début in a Toyota Avensis run by the Cheshire-based Speedworks outfit.
Immediately impressing, Ingram ended his first year in the championship in 14th, claiming a best finish of fifth in the season finale.
The following year, Ingram claimed his maiden podium finishers in the BTCC, before kicking off 2016 with a bang by claiming his first win and following it up with another later in the year.
In 2017, Ingram and Speedworks emerged as a genuine title contender, with the 27-year-old claiming four victories on his way to third overall in the standings.
2018 was the last with the Avensis, and Ingram again was a multiple race winner fighting for the title in his best season yet where he finished as runner-up to champion Colin Turkington.
In 2019 Ingram and Speedworks switched to the new Toyota Corolla, and since then he has claimed seven further race victories in the past two seasons.
The reason for the split has been described as ‘conflicting commercial considerations’ which have made it ‘impossible for Ingram and Speedworks to extend their partnership’.
“Speedworks was obviously my first team in the BTCC, and they quickly became like a family,” said Ingram, the 2017 and 2018 Independents’ champion.
“I have a lot of very special memories from our time together. We’ve been on an amazing journey and have both done ourselves proud.
“It would admittedly have been nice to round that journey off by winning the championship, but it narrowly eluded us on a couple of occasions – primarily due to sheer bad luck.
“Still, I take nothing but good memories away from my seven years with the team, and an awful lot of pride in what we have accomplished.
“It was a very easy relationship right from the word ‘go’. It never felt like a driver-and-team partnership, but more like one solid unit fighting forward together.
“It’s been such a fairytale story in a lot of respects, with so many milestones simultaneously achieved along the way – first podium, first pole position, first race win, first fastest lap, first title.
“Developing the Avensis and more recently the Corolla has added another string to my bow, allowing me to work very closely with the Speedworks engineers and teaching me how to extract the very best out of a modern BTCC car.
“A lot has been made of the disadvantages of running just one car in terms of having less data to assess, but the flipside was that all the focus was on me and that enabled me to steer the development in the direction that I felt was right – and as a driver, that’s exactly what you want.
“Both of us clearly have contractual obligations to our respective commercial partners, and both of those relationships grew to the point where it was inevitable that at some stage we would reach this kind of crossroads.
“My sponsors will always be my priority, just as the team’s partners are quite rightly Christian’s priority. There’s no ill-feeling, and I owe everybody at Speedworks a massive ‘thank you’ for our seven years together.
“We’ll still be good friends moving forward; we’ll just be wearing different team jackets.
“I’m sad to be leaving, of course, but no doors are permanently closed and this isn’t the end of the road for either of us.
“Right now, we just have to go our separate ways. I can 100 per cent assure you that I will still be in the BTCC next year, and I have an exciting new project that I will be able to announce soon, which is incredibly motivating and will allow me to develop both commercially and from a performance point-of-view – so stay tuned!”
Christian Dick, Team Principal of Speedworks Motorsport, paid tribute to the efforts of Ingram, which have yielded 16 victories in the past seven seasons.
“Seven years is a long partnership by BTCC standards, and it’s been an excellent relationship – Tom swiftly became part of the Speedworks family, and I look back now with nothing but very fond memories,” said Dick.
“We had a lot of great times together both on and off-track and Tom, Laura and his parents will remain lifelong friends.
“We all wish Tom the very best in his new challenge, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will do a superb job wherever he ends up.
“He is the epitome of a hard but fair racer, and we look forward to meeting him on-track many more times over the coming years.”