Home soil beckons for Speedworks as Ingram revs up for Oulton Park 'thrill ride'
The British Touring Car Championship is Cheshire-bound this weekend (29/30 June) as the UK’s premier motorsport series races into Oulton Park, where Team Toyota GB with Ginsters ace Tom Ingram is targeting a podium flourish in Speedworks Motorsport’s ‘backyard’.
With its Northwich workshop located less than ten miles up the road, Oulton is very much home soil for Speedworks, and it has been a happy hunting ground for Ingram in years gone by. The 25-year-old Bucks-born ace achieved his first car racing pole position there in only his seventh start ten years ago in the Ginetta Junior Championship, and since graduating to the BTCC in 2014, he has finished in the points 11 times out of 15 – on nine of those occasions, inside the top ten.
Ingram further proved his pace around Oulton’s picturesque and undulating ‘Island’ layout in 2017 by posting the fastest lap in the final race of the weekend, but he has yet to reach the rostrum there in the BTCC, with a best result to-date of fourth place three years ago – something he is eager to improve upon this time round behind the wheel of the new-for-2019 Toyota Corolla.
The series’ reigning two-time Independents’ Champion is particularly fired-up after a tyre gamble at Croft earlier this month narrowly failed to pay off. That misfortune dropped Ingram to ninth in the Drivers’ title chase – albeit still only 47 points adrift of the summit of the standings – with Team Toyota GB with Ginsters occupying the same spot in the Teams’ table. The flipside is that he will carry less success ballast into qualifying and race one at Oulton – a track that notoriously punishes excess weight.
All of the race day action will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4, beginning at 11:00am on Sunday (30 June).
Christian Dick, Team Principal, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, said:
“As Speedworks’ home circuit, we always look forward to racing at Oulton Park. We receive plenty of support from family, friends and sponsors, and there’s just a real vibe to the weekend – the sun usually shines and there’s a proper festival atmosphere. On the track, it hasn’t necessarily been the kindest to us, but we go there this year with a new car for the first time in the Toyota Corolla and confident of challenging up at the sharp end.
“Qualifying will be key, as it invariably is at Oulton given the difficulty of overtaking there; that’s something that has hamstrung us in recent seasons as we’ve tended to arrive heavy on ballast, which takes a real toll. This year, we’ll be much lighter and that will hopefully stand us in good stead for a strong weekend to send us into the summer break with our tails up.”
Tom Ingram, Driver, Team Toyota GB with Ginsters, said:
“For me, Oulton Park is one of the best race weekends of the season. From a driver’s perspective, it’s a thrill ride from start to finish, all challenging corners and undulations and massively rewarding when you get it right. Qualifying counts for more than at most circuits simply because it really isn’t easy to overtake there when you start further down the order, and success ballast plays a significant role when it comes to extracting single-lap speed.
“I think the Toyota Corolla should be well-suited to the track, though, and one of the advantages of conceding a little bit of ground at Croft is that we go to Oulton carrying less weight than we have done previously. With that in mind, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to qualify inside the top ten and then move forward from there.
“I was reminded last week of the slightly jarring statistic that Oulton is the only circuit on the BTCC calendar at which I haven’t yet been on the podium, so one of the first objectives this weekend has to be to set that record straight...”