The car in front is a Toyota: Ingram's Corolla tops timesheets at pre-season test
In the only official pre-season group test, Tom Ingram put Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters at the top of the British Touring Car Championship timing screens at Silverstone yesterday (17 March), proving the potential of the team’s Toyota Corolla ahead of its sophomore campaign in the UK’s premier motor racing series.
Last year, two-time BTCC Independents’ Champion Ingram piloted the all-new Corolla to four victories – one apiece at Donington Park and Snetterton and a dominant double at Silverstone – en route to sixth spot in the final Drivers’ standings. The talented young Bucks-born ace replicated that stellar form as the championship returned to the legendary ‘Home of British Motor Racing’ – this time on Silverstone’s ‘International’ layout, hitherto unused in the BTCC – to send out a solid signal of intent.
Third-quickest in the morning – after leading the way for much of the session – Ingram upped the tempo in the afternoon to conclude proceedings fastest overall amongst the 29 high-calibre competitors, as the ‘Built in Britain’ Corolla danced around the 1.85-mile lap and none of its rivals proved able to live with the Toyota’s prodigious pace.
Although the start of the forthcoming campaign has been delayed by the escalating global COVID-19 pandemic – with all UK motorsport suspended until at least the end of April – once racing does resume, Ingram and Speedworks will head into battle with their eyes fixed firmly on the prize.
Christian Dick, Team Principal, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters, said:
“A very positive day, all-in-all. We put a lot of laps on the board and the Corolla ran faultlessly. Tom was never outside the top three on the timing screens and felt very comfortable with it, which represents an extremely strong start to the year and validates all the hard work that has gone on back at base over the winter months. For our first official outing as ‘Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’, things could scarcely have gone any better, which is huge credit to the entire Speedworks crew.
“We clearly can’t ignore the prevailing situation regarding coronavirus and its impact on sporting events, and whilst disappointed not to be starting the season later this month – because we certainly feel ready to go – the decision that has been taken is obviously the correct one at this time. There are much more important things than motorsport at stake right now, and once everything has settled down, we look forward to getting back out on-track and fighting for victory.”
Tom Ingram, Driver, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters, said:
“It’s obviously pleasing to set the first fastest time of the season. I really like Silverstone’s International layout – it’s a cool track that should generate some good, close racing later this year with its mixture of fast, medium and slow-speed sections. We saw at the test that the times were really tight and we completed almost 100 laps in total, which enabled us to work through a lot of our planned programme and the car felt really good.
“We’ve definitely taken a big step forward over the winter, and the best bit is we know there’s even more speed still to extract, which is very exciting. We’re in a really good place right now and although the off-season is going to be a bit longer than expected for completely unavoidable and understandable reasons, once we are clear to go racing again, I can’t wait to show everybody just what our little Corolla is capable of!”