Tom Ingram has been crowned the 2011 Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup G50 class champion after he continued his great season with triple podium success at Brands Hatch, the Plans Motorsport driver taking the title with a meeting to spare.
Ingram headed to Brands knowing he had a decent chance to take the title a meeting earlier and duly produced the goods to take his second consecutive championship title. The 2010 Ginetta Junior champion has been the class of the field all season and admits it was an emotional moment when he climbed the podium to collect his trophy.
A delighted Ingram said: “I just tried to approach it as I would any normal race weekend. I treated it exactly the same as all the others, targeting some solid points and then seeing where that left us. It was going to be about consistency – not necessarily winning races – and we’ve always been consistent in terms of wins and podium finishes. That’s the way to win championships, at the end of the day.”
Ingram’s weekend didn’t start to plan though, with an anti-roll bar snapping in half and lodging itself in a wheel during qualifying, restricting the 18 year old to just two timed laps and sixth on the grid. This didn’t faze him heading into the opening race though and he fought through to take a solid third place.
Tom explained: “I knew that as long as I didn’t allow it to faze me too much, used my head and kept everything nice and smooth and consistent, it would be ok. I was aiming to just make my way through the pack and regain as much ground as I could in race one – and third place given where we had started was more useful points towards the championship. Although you’d always rather be up on the top step of the podium, in the circumstances, third was just fine.”
With his chief title rival finishing below him, the result eked out Ingram’s points advantage even more. Race two saw Ingram running a solid second and he made a bid for the lead, resulting in minor contact. This woke Ingram up and rather than risk his result, he settled for second.
Ingram conceded: “That focussed my attention and caused me to stop and think, ‘look, use your head here, Tom – you’ve near-enough got the championship in the bag, so just stay where you are and it will be fine, don’t blow it now!’ I knew there was no point in taking an unnecessary risk to go for the race win when second position was more than enough in terms of the championship, so I just settled for that. My main rival was some way behind again, so the pressure was off a bit and it was all about remaining consistent and not making any mistakes.”
After some quick calculations, Ingram and his team knew that heading into a third race, a podium finish would be enough to take the title. Ingram duly completed the job to perfection and secured the championship, with ten victories, eighteen podiums and thirteen fastest laps in the 25 races so far.
Ingram enthused: “When I crossed the finish line in race three, it was just complete joy. I struggled to put into words how it felt to be champion – it’s just crazy! From the start of the year, when we didn’t even think we were going to be racing, to now be the 2011 Ginetta G50 Champion is insane! I was speechless.
“To come away with our second championship in as many years is absolutely phenomenal! It’s been my first year in a senior championship, and as last year’s Ginetta Junior Champion, there was a lot of pressure on me to do well – everybody’s expectations were high.
“I felt totally overwhelmed. I spent a lot of time doing interviews afterwards, and then I was able to have a moment to myself in a corner of the truck on my own – and I just burst into tears. I sat there balling my eyes out! It really brought it all home to me.
“It’s always been such a family affair, and I need to thank my mum and my dad and my grandparents so much. I’ve had incredible support throughout the year from so many people, and in particular I need to say a massive ‘thank you’ to Matthew and Leigh-Anne Kirby, Walker Logistics, Cannon Moorcroft – and of course, Plans Motorsport for a tremendous team effort. I want to thank everybody! It’s just amazing!”