INGRAM EXCELR8S INTO STANDINGS LEAD
Tom Ingram leads the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship’s Hybrid era after a race winning performance in the opening weekend of the new season at Donington Park.
The Suffolk-based Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com lined up the starting grid for round one after a strong qualifying saw Tom Ingram place fourth and the remaining three drivers secure spots outside the top ten.
Ingram made a pivotal move for the lead on lap two at Coppice, passing both Colin Turkington and Jake Hill in one critical overtake which led to Ingram’s first BTCC hybrid win, whilst also securing the fastest lap of the race.
Chilton and Lloyd both secured Championship points by completing the race in the top 15, with Butel facing disappointment after an issue which forced him out of the race.
From pole in race two, Ingram led the early stages of the race, despite now having fewer laps of hybrid available, until Gordon Shedden’s Honda stole the lead on lap ten. The High Wycombe driver fought back but he was unable to combat Shedden’s lead, placing Ingram in second place.
Lloyd established his first top ten finish of the campaign by finishing in eighth position, after working his way through from 11th on the grid at the start of the race. Meanwhile, mechanical issues caused Chilton to finish 22nd and once again, forcing Butel into retirement.
The reverse grid final race saw Lloyd drawn on the front row of the grid and, after a tight battle with Josh Cook’s Honda caused Lloyd to slip into fourth on the penultimate lap.
Ingram’s Hyundai battled through the grid to complete the race in fifth, whilst Butel secured his first finish of the campaign in 21st. Chilton, however, was unable to steer clear of retirement after his car suffered heavy contact at the chicane.
The race weekend ended with Ingram leading the overall Drivers’ standings, with Lloyd securing eighth and EXCELR8 Motorsport heading the Manufacturers’/Constructors title.
“It’s been a great weekend and to come away with a win, second place and fifth is a really strong start to the year,” said Ingram. “If I’m being honest, I don’t think we had the quickest car this weekend and we certainly can’t rest on our laurels, but we leave Donington Park in a solid place and knowing that we have done a good job.”
“The hybrid system means a different approach to the racing and it made things a lot more tactical, especially in the final race when I didn’t have as many laps of hybrid power available,” said Lloyd. “We’re learning all the time and there is still room for improvement, but this is a good start.”
“It obviously just wasn’t meant to be for me this weekend as in race three, I got fired into so hard at the chicane that it ripped the front left off,” said Chilton. “The potential in the team is huge and Tom showed how fast the car is. I’ve found more this weekend in terms of getting the car how I like it, and it leaves me excited about the meetings to come.”
“It was always going to be a tough weekend after my lack of running in pre-season and it was only really in qualifying where I got a proper run in the car with everything working as it should have done, so I was pleased to get into the top 20,” said Butel. “The team has done a great job as usual, and I look to forward to getting back to where we should be when we get to Brands Hatch.”
“It’s fantastic for us to be leaving Donington Park on top of the championship standings and has given us a really strong platform on which to build,” said Team Owner, Justina Williams. “Tom Ingram did a fantastic job to get the win in race one and it’s a proud moment for us as a team to secure a place in the history books as the first winners of the hybrid era.”