Reigning Ginetta Junior Champion Tom Ingram recently got his first taste of a Ginetta G50 as he looks to graduate to the new Ginetta GT Supercup in 2011. The 17 year old was out at a wet Silverstone National circuit and after impressing everyone with his speed, is looking to secure the funds to ensure he can make it on the grid.
The recently crowned BRDC Rising Star handled the transition from his old Ginetta G40 to the bigger, more powerful G50 very well, showing pace that hinted at him being a title-challenger if he manages to enter the series.
Ingram commented: “The track was mega greasy all day, and with the G50 being such a powerful car, they weren't the best conditions to be going out in! I love those kinds of conditions, though, and they always seem to suit my driving style quite well.
“The G50 is a lot bigger, heavier and quicker than the G40, but the handling characteristics – in the wet, at least – are actually very similar from the point-of-view of how it turns in, and I was straight into it after only about five or six laps, to be honest.
“It was so much fun to drive, just awesome! One of the mechanics asked me afterwards when the last time I had been out in a G50 was – and he didn't believe me when I told him never! I hadn't even sat in any kind of racing car since November.
“It was great to be back out in a car again – especially at Silverstone – and I absolutely loved the G50! I was on-track for 40 minutes straight to begin with, and I just didn't want to get out of the car at the end of it – I wanted to be able to drive it all day!”
Ingram ran with Century Motorsport, an experienced G50 outfit run by ex-driver Nathan Freke, and was quick to praise them for the help during the test: “The couple of years' experience that the team has in the championship certainly told when we looked through the data, as they were able to show me near enough immediately where there was room for me to improve. It was great to work with a previous champion, too – Nathan really knows all the ins-and-outs of the car, and exactly what is needed. I've known him for years, and we get on really well.”
The youngster, who has recently been offered a job as an expert instructor at Bedford Autodrome, added that he is sure he can be competitive if he finds the funds to compete: “I'd do anything to be on the grid this year – I want it so badly! After winning the Ginetta Junior Championship last year, I think it would be a real travesty if I can't carry on. I know how much I learned and how much my driving improved through working with Hillspeed in 2010, so I'm confident I could pretty much jump into the G50 and be on the pace straightaway.”
2009 Ginetta G50 Champion Freke was quick to praise Ingrams performance: “From seeing how he had got on in a touring car back in November, I thought Tom would adapt to the G50 fairly quickly – and he didn't disappoint. He is clearly very good and extremely quick, and if you give him the equipment he will get to grips with it.
“Conditions were less-than-ideal – it was very cold and very wet, and the track was just like ice. If it had been a nice, sunny day the car would have been confidence-inspiring, but it was just the opposite! Despite that, Tom went out for a couple of half-hour sessions and after just 20 laps he had got to within half-a-second of a very experienced racer who we had out in our other car, which I thought was phenomenal.
“He has simply got natural talent inside a racing car; he doesn't have any fear of getting it out-of-shape or taking it to the limit, which is quite a nice change. To get down to the kind of lap times that he did in such a short space of time is really promising, and as long as he can compete this year, he will be up at the front, no doubt about that. We've got the set-up and he's got the talent, so he'll be in the title fight. Tom definitely has the pace to win the championship.”