Tom Ingram scores first ever BTCC win
Young star Tom Ingram has taken his first ever Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory after producing an impressive lights-to-flag performance at Brands Hatch.
While the opening race of the season was frenetic further down the order, the top three contenders in Ingram, Honda’s Gordon Shedden and his team-mate Matt Neal remained steady throughout. A slowing backmarker and a mid-race safety car spell proved to be the only issues for Ingram, but the Speedworks Motorsport racer dealt with both interruptions with consummate ease.
The bumper-to-bumper action kicked off as soon as the lights went out on the 2016 BTCC campaign, with a number of incidents influencing the latter half of the points-paying positions.
The Subaru of Colin Turkington was in the wars early on, as was the BMW of Sam Tordoff after contact with his West Surrey Racing team-mate Rob Collard. Motorbase duo Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan went side-by-side across the line on lap three, narrowly avoiding each other, but the major moment came later on the same lap.
Power Maxed Racing’s Hunter Abbott lost control on the run through to Surtees, and Alex Martin spun wildly while trying to avoid contact with the Chevrolet ahead of him. Although the Dextra Racing driver succeeded in that respect, his striking yellow machine went on to make heavy contact with the barrier.
A short safety car intervention followed, which ultimately led to dramas for two particular BTCC race winners. Adam Morgan was the first car to be shuffled down the order, as his WIX Racing Mercedes dropped to ninth in the blink of an eye. Team IHG Rewards Club’s Jack Goff was next to fall foul of the chasing pack as he attacked Ashley Sutton’s MG for fifth. Goff’s failed attempt left the BMW running wide at Paddock Hill Bend, and he found himself down in tenth by the end of the race.
Back to the front and Ingram crossed the line to the rapturous applause of both his team and the filled spectator banks and grandstands of Brands Hatch, whilst the two Halfords Yuasa Racing cars completed the podium positions.
MG’s young duo continue to belie their relative inexperience by finishing fourth and fifth, with debutant Ashley Sutton getting the better of stablemate Josh Cook. Collard took a top six finish while Aron Smith produced an impressive BTCC bow for BKR by bringing his VW CC home in seventh.
Jackson eventually got the better of his Ford Focus team-mate to finish eighth ahead of the fading Morgan and Goff, whilst Pirterk-backed Jordan had to settle for 11th.
Subaru’s introduction to the BTCC was a difficult one as Turkington got caught up in an incident in the early running while team boss Warren Scott was unable to make the start. Both Jason Plato and James Cole reached the finish, although some way down the order as the Team BMR-run outfit continues to develop its quartet of Levorgs in racing conditions.
Tom Ingram said: “This is what all the hard work over the winter was for. With the way we finished last season, we knew we had a good package underneath us, and Speedworks Motorsport are such a fantastic bunch of guys – this result is for all of them. When I saw the team celebrating as I climbed out of the car afterwards, it brought a tear to my eye, and the emotion just goes to show how much this first victory means to us. It’s unbelievable.”
Gordon Shedden said: “Second place represents good points to start the season. We didn’t take any risks and perhaps went a little bit too soft on the set-up. I think I would have had the pace to run in front of Tom [Ingram], but I’m not sure I had the pace to pass him because we were so equally-matched – and in any case, when you get too close round here, the aerodynamic effect takes over. Congratulations to Tom on his first win – he drove a faultless race.”
Matt Neal said: “I’ve got to be happy with a podium finish and a pot. The car felt solid and I focused on looking after my tyres and being careful over the kerbs during the first few laps. When the safety car came out, I got on the team radio to say ‘we need to get the hammer down now, so tell ‘Flash’ to pull his finger out’, and when the race got going again, he did that and I sat still! We probably went a bit too safe with the car due to the conditions, so we’ll make some changes for race two.”
Race two will take place at 14:10 and you can see all of the action live and exclusively on ITV4.
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 1 – Brands Hatch Indy:
1 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport (27 laps) 23m 44.664s
2 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +2.284s
3 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +3.925s
4 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +6.070s
5 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +6.423
6 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +7.908s
7 Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +10.314s
8 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +11.720s
9 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +13.495s
10 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +13.615s
11 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +14.596s
12 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +18.504s
13 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +18.769s
14 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +22.825s
15 Daniel WELCH (GBR) Goodstone Racing +24.456s
16 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +24.640s
17 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +24.953s
18 Andy NEATE (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +25.157s
19 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +28.708s
20 Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +29.142s
21 Jason PLATO (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +30.142s
22 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +44.497s
23 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +49.253s
24 Chris SMILEY (GBR) TLC Racing +1 lap
25 James COLE (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +2 laps
26 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Subaru Team BMR +7 laps
27 Kelvin FLETCHER (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +10 laps
28 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +13 laps
29 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning +14 laps
30 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +24 laps
31 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +25 laps
32 Warren SCOTT (GBR) Subaru Team BMR DNS
Click here for the final classification.