SPEEDWORKS HEADS HOME IN HIGH SPIRITS
Hot on the heels of his first top three finish of the 2020 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign at Brands Hatch, Tom Ingram is aiming to keep the momentum going at Oulton Park this weekend (22/23 August), as the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters star continues his pursuit of the most coveted prize in UK motorsport.
The undulating Cheshire circuit is home soil for Northwich-based Speedworks Motorsport – the team that operates Ingram’s #80 Toyota Corolla – and it is somewhere that the 26-year-old Bucks-born ace has always performed well, even claiming his first car racing pole position on his maiden visit to the track in the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2009.
From 18 BTCC starts at Oulton to-date, Ingram has achieved no fewer than 13 points finishes and a brace of fastest laps. Moreover, he ran in a podium-challenging position there in 2014 and again last year, only for ill-fortune to intervene on both occasions, in the shape of fuel pressure failure and an accident not of his own making – so there is certainly a record to be set straight.
The two-time BTCC Independents’ Champion will return sitting fourth in the Drivers’ standings following a superb performance at Brands Hatch, where he fought his way from eighth on the grid to fourth at the chequered flag in race one before improving to second place in race two.
Whilst his race three ambitions were halted on the opening lap, Ingram nonetheless proved the pace and potential of Speedworks’ Corolla – which he intends to exploit to the maximum this coming weekend.
All of the high-octane, doorhandle-to-doorhandle action from the country’s premier motor racing series will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4 on Sunday, beginning at 1150.
“Going to Oulton Park, we know we have a fast car in the Corolla – that much was evident at both Donington Park and Brands Hatch – and having shed a little bit of weight due to what happened in race three at Brands is probably no bad thing,” said Team Principal Christian Dick. “When we’ve been in a competitive championship position before going to Oulton, we’ve normally arrived carrying either maximum or near-maximum ballast and we’ve paid the price for that, so to be slightly lighter this year could play to our advantage.
“Oulton is obviously Speedworks’ home track, so it’s always a special one for all the boys and girls in the team and whilst the atmosphere will be very different this year without spectators – of all the circuits in the BTCC, this is probably the one where you feel the fans’ support the most – it’s still going to be an incredibly important weekend.
“Yes, traditionally Oulton has favoured rear wheel-drive cars, but I’m confident that the work we’ve done with the Corolla both over the off-season and since Donington Park will stand us in really good stead. We’re heading home with a positive mindset – and gunning for glory!”
“Eighteen BTCC races at Oulton Park and still no podiums – I clearly need to pull my finger out this year!” added Ingram. “Being serious, though, in recent seasons we’ve generally gone there with a decent chunk of weight inside the car, and if there’s anywhere on the calendar that you don’t want to be carrying much ballast, it’s Oulton.
“Not only does the extra weight hurt your qualifying form due to the nature of the lap, but it’s also extremely difficult to overtake there and work your way through the field, so it can condition your whole weekend – as we know from painful experience. Three years ago, we turned up at Oulton leading the championship and scored just a single point, so in a roundabout sort of way, losing a bit of ground in race three at Brands Hatch might have been a blessing in disguise.
“It’s a unique circuit – really full-on and incredibly technical – and with every corner feeding into the next you can’t afford to make even one mistake, because it will cost you the whole way round the lap. That’s a challenge I’ve always enjoyed.
“Overall, I think we go there in good shape. We made a lot of changes over the weekend at Brands Hatch that resulted in a big step forward, and whilst we missed out on another decent points haul in the final race through no fault of our own, hopefully we’ll be able to recover some lost ground on Speedworks’ home soil.”