Tom Ingram has confirmed that he will continue to race a Toyota Avensis for Speedworks Motorsport in the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The former Ginetta Junior, G50 and GT4 Supercup champion will therefore enter his fourth BTCC season with Christian Dick‘s Independent outfit, having finished 10th overall and fourth in the Independents’ Championship last year with the Toyota Avensis.
Two pole positions and a brace of breakthrough race victories were the highlight of the most recent campaign for the 23-year-old, who said he had no hesitation over his decision to continue with Speedworks.
“It was a very easy decision to stay with Speedworks,” said Ingram. “In a championship as ultra-competitive and unpredictable as the BTCC, the importance of continuity can never be overstated.
“We made tremendous progress last season and to win our first race together in the very first round was an incredible achievement. Our qualifying pace was superb and our race pace was equally strong. Quite frankly, I don’t see anybody else in our position and with our level of resources doing a better job out there.
“The benefit of all the experience we have gained will galvanise us and we now have a much stronger package all-round and a completely different mindset and approach. Having broken our duck, that box has been ticked and we can focus on the bigger picture. We have proved we deserve to be here and will go into the new season with a lot more confidence – whereas last year we were simply hoping to be in the mix, this year we will be aiming to win.”
Ingram pointed towards consistency as an area for improvement in 2017, saying “it’s vital in the BTCC to make hay on the good days and make the most of the bad days – but last year, our bad days were very, very bad. In races two and three at Brands Hatch Indy, Donington Park and Thruxton early in the season, we scored a grand total of two points and then Rockingham was quite literally a pointless weekend.
“In nine of the 30 races, we didn’t score at all and in two more we picked up just a single point. If we’d been more consistent and averaged just eighth place in each of those races, we’d have won the championship – I think that’s a measure of how much potential there is inside this team, which is hugely exciting heading into 2017.
“The key will be to finish races, stay out of trouble and keep scoring points – and ultimately, I want to be going to Brands Hatch in October in with a shot at the overall title.”
Team Principal, Dick, said “keeping Tom on board is a major coup. He was unquestionably one of the BTCC’s standout stars last year and with a competitive car underneath him, he consummately proved his potential with both his pace and racecraft, all underpinned by a mature and intelligent approach that belies his age. He is at the forefront of the series’ next generation and a champion of the future, I am sure.”
Ingram and the Speedworks Avensis will be present at this week’s Autosport International Show at 09:30 on Thursday 12 January.