Despite missing out on the overall Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title by twelve points, Speedworks Motorsport driver Tom Ingram can still leave the 2018 season with his head held high and both Independent crowns safely retained for a second year.
Eventually, the might of West Surrey Racing and their three car squad of rear-wheel drive BMW’s were too good for the one car team of Speedworks. Therefore the David and Goliath story ended with the manufacturer entry prevailing.
Not that Tom didn’t give it his best shot though. Heading to the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit thirty-four points behind, Tom had an incredible mountain to climb if he was to win overall. A deficit like this had never been overcome in a title deciding weekend before.
Ballast was to be a weakness in qualifying and the Toyota man could only muster a nineteenth place grid position. Disappointed, he was to line up two places behind title rival Colin Turkington who could only qualify in seventeenth.
Race one was also hampered by the weight. However, progress saw the Toyota just slip into the points paying position of fourteenth. But, Turkington was further up the road and the points gap extended to thirty six. Tom was going to need another one of his incredible through the field drives that had become a signature for him in 2018.
Race two was do or die, with forty-four points maximum to be scored it was going to be incredibly difficult and Colin needed to have two pointless events. Colin duly obliged when he made contact with Dan Lloyd through Paddock Hill Bend and dropped to twenty-second. Tom meanwhile tried to close the gap.
Having already gained three spots on the opening lap, Tom made a succession of cracking moves, including one on Turkington, to get his Toyota up to fourth. However, that was when he got caught up behind the BMW of Andrew Jordan.
Tom needed that third place to keep his hopes alive into the final race. However, Jordan drove a superb defensive race and the tyres on the Toyota began to struggle. Therefore Ingram crossed the line in fourth and his valiant crusade towards overall honours ended.
Despite missing out on overall honours, the second race was his eighth independents win of 2018 and it sealed the Independent crown for the second year in a row. The Independent teams crown was secured for Speedworks with a fifth place finish in the nail biting final race of the day.
Come the end of the season, Tom finished just twelve points behind Turkington in the title. Whilst he may not have won the top honours in this Diamond Jubilee year, Tom and his team can still be proud of the fact that they took on a full manufacturer entry and almost won.
Team Principal Christian Dick was full of praise for his driver and team,
“I can’t think of a single moment when he has put a foot wrong, and he has produced some sensational drives through the field – including here at Brands.
“Likewise, the boys have been exceptional – their work ethic is just faultless. We’re far from the biggest crew in the paddock, but we’ve definitely got the most talented and passionate bunch of guys out there and I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them.
“It’s a phenomenal achievement to win both Independents’ titles two years on the bounce, and testament to the stellar work everybody here has put in – particularly as a single-car operation.
“We have performed well with full ballast, no ballast and on all different compounds of tyre, which fills us with so much confidence moving forward.
“This season, we thought we could win the overall Drivers’ Championship; going into next season, we know we can do it.”
Tom was also pretty proud of the job done in 2018 and also hinted at more for 2019,
“Coming into 2018, we had our sights set on the outright title.
“It was perhaps a little bit tongue-in-cheek given the might of the manufacturer-backed teams we are up against, and to put together a successful championship-winning bid in what is Britain’s toughest motorsport series is a huge challenge, but that was our goal.
“We’ve got some amazing people here at Speedworks, and the work they all put in is truly second-to-none, both at the track and behind-the-scenes back at the factory – they’re a brilliant bunch of lads and I couldn’t ask to have a better team around me.
“Ultimately, we weren’t quite able to match Colin’s consistency this year, so that’s what we need to work on for next season but we will learn from that and come back stronger. 2018 has been incredible. Hopefully 2019 will be even better!”