INGRAM ‘EXCITED’ ABOUT CAMPAIGN AHEAD
Tom Ingram backed up his pre-season confidence with a podium finish on his maiden appearance for Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com at Thruxton recently, as he proved that he will once again be a force to be reckoned with in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship this year.
Ingram has an impressive record around Thruxton – scene of his maiden car racing win just over a decade ago, as well as a commanding double victory last season in the UK’s premier motorsport series – and he was unsurprisingly a leading contender from the outset behind the wheel of his new Hyundai i30 Fastback N Performance.
On a damp-but-drying track surface in qualifying, he shot to the top of the times early on as he hustled his Hyundai around the ultra-fast Hampshire circuit in characteristically spectacular style. After slipping down the order, the talented young Bucks-born ace then vaulted back to the summit of the standings in the closing minutes as conditions improved and drivers traded their wet-weather tyres for slicks, setting the stage for a breathless end to the session.
Although he was shuffled down to fourth amongst the 29 high-calibre protagonists as lap times continued to tumble in the dying moments, it nonetheless put him solidly in the hunt – and that was only the start.
When the lights went out in the opening contest, Ingram held firm and gained a spot to third after Ash Sutton was tagged into a spin by Colin Turkington at the Complex. Immediately going on the attack, he dispatched four-time title-winner Turkington with a superb move up the inside at Church – the quickest corner in the country – before the safety car emerged to deal with a number of incidents.
Following a stoppage, the two-time BTCC Independents’ Champion made a strong re-start, and after briefly mounting a challenge for the lead, he focussed on consolidating his position as he eased away from the duel behind for third. Taking the chequered flag barely two seconds adrift of victory, Ingram flashed his i30N’s headlights in celebration as he crossed the finish line to clinch the runner-up spoils, with the second-fastest lap of the race underscoring his raw speed.
A second consecutive top six finish followed in the next encounter, before the 27-year-old was handed a 30-second stop-go penalty in the final contest and he was eventually classified down in 22nd.
The frustrating end to the day, however, did not take the shine off an otherwise excellent debut weekend for Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com, and Ingram left Thruxton sitting sixth in the Drivers’ standings ahead of the next event at Snetterton in Norfolk on 12/13 June.
Tom Ingram, Driver, Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com, said: “I think we’ve shown we’re going to be at the front this year. With no weight on-board, the car is clearly there; with the weight in, we’ve got a bit of work still to do, but on the whole, we’re in the mix, and that’s really encouraging.
“Big credit to all the guys and girls at Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com – the whole team has done a tremendous job and to score a podium in my first race with them really meant the world to all of us. Having my engineer Spencer [Aldridge] here with me has made such a difference, from a continuity point of view and just knowing how to get the best out of each other – and it was so good to see the smiles on everybody’s faces.
“Overall, we learnt a huge amount over the weekend and as a team, we performed really well. The important thing to take away is that we know why the Hyundai reacted the way it did in each race and we will go away and figure out what we need to do to improve it. I think we can all be very proud of ourselves and looking forward, I’m really excited.”