Tom Ingram has committed to remaining with Excelr8 Motorsport in the British Touring Car Championship until at least the end of the 2023 season, opting to remain with the Hyundai team.
Ingram joined the Suffolk-based team for the 2021 season, signing at the time what was described as a ‘multi-year’ deal.
Ingram has now announced that he will stay with the outfit for at least the next two seasons, as he seeks to finally clinch an outright BTCC title.
Last year, Ingram’s eighth full-season in the BTCC, the 28-year-old secured three outright victories on his way to fourth overall in the drivers’ standings, having been in title contention until the final round at Brands Hatch.
Ingram is hoping that the beginning of the hybrid era in 2022 will offer him the chance to be at the sharp end of the grid more often, with the success ballast system now fully replaced by the hybrid system.
“I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I want to be in the BTCC for the long haul, and success in this championship relies heavily upon forging relationships with the right people,” said Ingram.
“Justina [Williams – EXCELR8 Team Owner] has a very clear vision of what she wants to achieve, and is willing to invest in the relevant areas in order to do so.
“I arrived at EXCELR8 after spending seven years with the same team, yet I felt fully at home from my first test in the Hyundai.
“We grew together and worked really hard to further refine the i30N, so with the benefit of that experience and a year’s engineering development now under our belts, we should be in good shape going into 2022.
“Not just that, but with a number of my main rivals playing musical chairs over the off-season, our continuity can only count in our favour.
“The advent of the hybrid era is very exciting. It will open up a new dynamic, and there will be an extra strategic element in terms of when and how you exploit the additional power available, which will give us all a bit more to think about.
“Hopefully it will also provide greater parity and allow the quick drivers to feature more consistently up at the sharp end.
“Ultimately, everybody wants to see the fastest drivers to the fore and competing against each other, because that’s what generates the best racing – but that didn’t always happen under the success ballast system, which made the BTCC a bit of a rear wheel-drive show in recent years, due to the way in which they could manage the excess weight.
“As the highest-placed and therefore heaviest front wheel-drive car in the points table for the majority of last season, we were invariably on the back foot going into race weekends and that really hampered us – but with no ballast on-board, we unquestionably had one of the quickest cars in the field.
“Given everybody will now be on a level playing field in that respect, I think we will have a strong package from the get-go. Plus, we’ve obviously got plenty of experience of running with the kind of weight that all cars will have to carry in 2022…
“Considering that change and with so many leading drivers switching teams, it really could be the most unpredictable season in ages, but our goal is clear.
“I’ve been the BTCC’s ‘nearly man’ too many times for my liking, and off the back of such a strong first year at EXCELR8 and with the new challenge of getting to grips with hybrid technology, I’ve never felt so motivated.
“We will 100 per cent come out of the blocks fighting, and the aim is to start as we mean to go on – which means pushing for pole position and victory right from the outset.”
Justina Williams, Team Owner of EXCELR8 Motorsport, described Ingram as a key part of the team’s plans to secure an outright title in the championship.
“Today marks exactly one year since we officially announced our partnership with Tom, and what better way to celebrate that anniversary than by extending the agreement until the end of 2023?
“EXCELR8 has made big strides since entering the BTCC three years ago, and with the benefit of Tom’s renowned speed, skill and experience, last season, we were able to launch our first genuine title bid and truly establish ourselves as consistent contenders in the series.
“We have no intention at all of resting upon our laurels, and have been hard at work over the past few months putting all the pieces of the puzzle into place to ensure we can hit the ground running at the beginning of the championship’s new hybrid era.
“Tom is obviously a major part of that puzzle, and we are all thrilled to have him with us for at least two more seasons. He is an excellent team leader, with an exemplary attitude and approach that inspires everybody to raise their game.
“I said it when he joined us and I’m even more convinced of it now – Tom is one of the absolute top drivers on the BTCC grid and undoubtedly a champion in-waiting.
“I cannot wait to find out what we will achieve together in 2022 and 2023.”