Tom Ingram proved untouchable in the latest rounds of the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, dominating the G50 class throughout the weekend. The reigning Ginetta Junior champion took all three class wins over the meeting to extend his lead at the top of the class standings.
Preparations for the weekend were once again very last minute for Ingram, with the 17-year-old looking set to miss the meeting, until Walker Logistics stepped in less than 36 hours before practice to back him for the weekend to make sure he could race.
Ingram explains: “It was pretty last-minute again! We got an e-mail from Walker Logistics on the Tuesday evening saying they wanted to sponsor me for Thruxton. It was a real saving grace, because up until then we weren't going to be racing. It was from one extreme to the other and I was speechless, to be honest. There was a sense of unbelievable excitement that rushed through me – for it all to turn around like that was just mind-blowing!
“After winning at Brands Hatch and Donington Park, we were ready for Thruxton and really pumped-up, and it was a real buzz to bounce back from looking like not racing to all-of-a-sudden being out there competing around a track I've always done well at.”
Thruxton was the scene of Tom's maiden podium in cars in 2009, before taking his first ever car racing win at the circuit 12 months later. Two encouraging practice sessions meant the Plans Motorsport driver was confident of more success heading into qualifying and where he went on to take his third consecutive G50 pole position. He then converted this into a third G50 win of the season in Round Seven, whilst also battling against the faster G55 machinery.
Tom reflected: “I was confident we could pull away from the other G50s. I had to defend a bit from Aaron Williamson in the early stages, but then it was just a case of breaking the tow, and after I started to pull away from him, I focussed on trying to put some decent times in.
“Towards the end of the race, I began catching the G55 of Colin White in front of me at the rate of about eight tenths-to-a-second per lap. I was reeling him in, and I knew I had two choices – to slow up so as not to risk getting into a tangle, or to try and overtake him. I slackened my pace a little bit, but I was still gaining on Colin and with Williamson not all that far behind, I thought, 'I've got to go past him'.
“I managed to latch onto the back of him, and I put him under a bit of pressure going into the final chicane. Colin made just a little mistake, which gave me a run along the pit straight and I went down the inside into the first corner; he tried to turn in, but I stood my ground because I knew if I backed off, it would hurt my speed and possibly give Williamson a chance.”
Ingram then went on to truly dominate the class in the two other races, finishing Round eight thirteen seconds clear of his nearest G50 rival, before extending his winning margin in Round nine to seventeen seconds, running at points nearly two and a half seconds a lap quicker than his rivals.
A delighted Ingram commented: “I made a decent start in both of them and then just got my head down and didn't make any mistakes. In race two, I tried to push and keep putting in consistent lap times whilst preserving my tyres as best I could for the third one. Fortunately, I established a big enough gap that I never needed to push to the limit – it was all about keeping everything smooth and making the tyres last. That was the real key, so that I could maintain my pace for the third race, too.”
The weekend sees the BRDC Rising Star, backed by Walker Logistics, Ellis Clowes, Boxfresh and Puzzle IT, make it five wins in nine races, extending his lead in the championship race to over sixty points.
Tom concluded: “It would have been unthinkable ahead of the weekend to win by as much as we did in races two and three. I never expected that – I hadn't even expected to be racing at all!
“I couldn't believe that I was right up there battling with some of the G55s, too, especially around Thruxton of all places – that should be the track that allows them to use their extra power the most. To finish fifth overall in one of the races was very special. I think we've got to a stage now where we've found a pretty good set-up for the car and it's all gelling together – and we've proved we've got really good pace.
“It was a cracking weekend – I can't fault it in any way. Plans Motorsport did a great job as they always do, and it was just amazing to be delivered the lifeline that we were by Walker Logistics – we could never have done it without them, so I owe them a huge 'thank you'.”