Formula Renault BARC front runners Hillspeed, celebrated their move into the Ginetta Junior series in the best way possible after securing their first victory during the opening round with the teams latest signing claiming his maiden win in the process.
Tom Ingram; who only signed with the team during the run up to the opening event produced a storming recovery drive during the damp opening round to recover from an opening lap spin which put him back down in seventh position.
Having led the way during the free practice session on the Saturday the High Wycombe based youngster missed out on pole position but secured second on the grid.
Ingram made a solid start in race one and was running second before pushing too hard at the complex and spinning off track. Undeterred, Ingram set about climbing his way back up the field and on lap three had broken into the top five.
The fifth lap of nine saw Ingram make up three positions in one move. Up at the Complex, Chris Swanwick took the inside line and took the lead away from Jake Hill, while the battle for third saw David Moore and Louise Richardson come together, Moore spun out while Richardson was held up. Hill also took to the grass in avoidance, thus clearing the way for Ingram to climb up the field.
He made his move for the lead on the seventh lap of the race, and he held on for his and the teams first victories in the series.
The second race saw Ingram back up his maiden victory with a fine fifth place, having spent the whole race with a slowly deflating tyre. Starting from the outside of row one, the race one winner made a solid start but soon started to slip back as he lost pace compared to the other front running cars. Ingram was able to secure a top five finish though, ahead of current Champion Sarah Moore.
Ingram has also secured a free test in one of the teams Formula Renault BARC cars as a reward for taking a race win – a major boost for the cash strapped youngster.
On Ingram's performance, team Principal Richard Ollerenshaw said: “Obviously we're absolutely delighted to win our first ever race in Ginetta Junior, Tom did a superb job to come back from his early spin to win, If he can raise the budget to continue with us for the rest of the season he'll certainly be a title threat, he's proven what he can do. From an 11th hour deal to race victory is a great story for us all.”
The teams other driver, fourteen year old series Debutant Seb Morris caused a stir in the paddock during the official testing sessions the day before, as he finished the day with the seventh fastest time overall.
The Liberty Properties Ltd backed racer set the twelfth fastest time in the fifteen minute qualifying session and showed his potential with two mature drives around the fast, flowing 2.35 mile Thruxton airfield circuit.
From twelfth on the grid, the Marford based youngster soon broke into the top ten on his maiden outing in the series, before slipping back on the final lap and crossed the line in thirteenth place overall.
The weekends second race saw Morris start from twelfth again, a position he held until lap three when he past the returning Jake Giddings for eleventh place. Morris lost eleventh to Giddings on the fifth lap of nine, and then dropped down to fourteenth place at the finish after his G40 picked up some damage.
Ollerenshaw said about Morris's debut: “Seb did a great job during his first ever race weekend in cars, we're very pleased with his progress and happy he secured two solid finishes. He was under strict instruction to finish both races and learn as much as possible so his race pace wasn't a true indication of what he's capable of. It's been a very positive debut for him at perhaps the most difficult track on which to have your first race.”
After rounds one and two of twenty, Ingram is currently three points off Championship leader Hill, having collected fifty-five points from the weekend, while Morris has sixteen points in the Championship, leaving him thirteenth overall.
The next races for the team will take place at Rockingham, Northamptonshire on the 24/25 April.
Photo credit: Jackob Ebrey Photography