Record Breakers | 1/13 | Tom Ingram
After an unprecedented 12 different drivers took the laurels in 2016, who would have predicted that come the final chequered flag of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch back in October, we would be welcoming home a record-breaking 13th different race winner?
Over the course of the next couple of weeks we’ll be reliving each of those victors’ efforts, starting with the man that took the spoils at the opening round last year on the Brands Hatch Indy loop – Speedworks Motorsport’s Tom Ingram. You’ll find a rather smart wallpaper to celebrate that success for both your phone and your computer below, on us!
In 2016, Tingram had set the pace at the Brands opener with pole position and duly followed up with an impressive lights-to-flag drive, fending off the eventual champion in Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden and Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan. It was a maiden victory in the BTCC for the Buckinghamshire racer, and a breakthrough victory – one that set him up for a best-yet campaign, and one that set hopes sky-high for what he might go on to achieve in 2017.
The High Wycombe man could scarely have hoped for a better start to his championship charge last year – matching his efforts in Kent at the same point a year prior. The newly-facelifted Speedworks Toyota Avensis immediately showed signs that it would be a fearsome package in Ingram’s hands over the 30 rounds to come, firing away from second spot and past polesitter Jeff Smith in the Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R before Smith could make it into Paddock Hill Bend.
Ingram sprinted clear with Smith holding station behind, while contact further back saw two championship challengers in Honda’s Matt Neal and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington stuttering into retirement with a Safety Car enforced.
On the restart, Ingram bolted with Smith immediately looking at a racy-looking Shedden in his mirrors. A valiant defence couldn’t stop the factory Honda’s progress via a storming move around Graham Hill Bend to take second spot. Morgan soon followed suit.
The Speedworks Avensis looked serene out front, meanwhile, despite a double champ for close company and in the end, Ingram cruised his way to a commanding victory, with Shedden on the defensive come the closing stages as Morgan’s Mercedes found its stride.
“That was absolutely fantastic, how do you put it into words?,” beamed Ingram post-race. “Two years on the bounce – that was just the best way to repay all that hard work we put in over the winter.
“The start we had was our plan all along. We had to try and get the jump on Jeff (Smith) off the line and it was just about as perfect as it could have been. From there, I just tried to build as big a gap as I could.
“A heck of a result, but we’ve just got to ensure we don’t do what we did in 2016. We were pace-setters but we lost a lot of points over the races. If we can make amends there, we will be in contention.”
Make amends Ingram and Speedworks did. A more composed, consistent 2017 saw him rocket to three further victories, starting at Donington Park just four rounds later. Visits to the top step at Knockhill and Silverstone would follow on his way to by far a best BTCC tilt to date for Ingram – in the end good for third in the overall standings, and top of the tree in the Independents’ championships for both driver and team. Not a bad effort that, was it Tom?