Arguably one of the most outstanding BTCC drivers of the last five years, Tom Ingram could be on the verge of taking his maiden BTCC title in 2019. This is why ‘Tingram’ is one to watch this year.
The 25-year-old has made his mark in the premier British tin-top series, and has climbed the end of year standings consistently since his debut in 2014.
In the last two years, Ingram has been a title contender, and in with a shot of the crown entering the final race weekend.
Ingram has also claimed the Independent drivers title in both 2017 and 2018, with one-car team Speedworks Motorsport also taking the Independent Teams title-double.
Ingram came within 12 points of claiming the overall crown in 2018, just losing out to West Surrey Racing’s, Colin Turkington.
This year may be the year the Speedworks driver finally lifts that trophy. With fantastic race craft, maturity beyond his years, and a brand new car, Tom Ingram is certainly one to watch in 2019.
There is no doubt, Tom Ingram has amazing natural speed and is arguably one of the fastest on the BTCC grid.
The first race of the year, at Brands Hatch Indy, is the only round exempt from championship ballast, and as such is a great assessment of which drivers are looking sharp.
In both 2016 and 2017 Tom Ingram has won the opening race of the season, suggesting his natural speed and advocating his position amongst the fastest in the paddock.
Tom is also able to maintain this pace throughout the year despite being hampered by championship ballast.
Notably he has picked up wins at the penultimate round at Silverstone in the last three years when he has been carrying heavy ballast due to his strong championship position.
Ingram possesses that ‘racers edge’, much akin to touring car legends Jason Plato and Matt Neal, a agressive desire to move forward in the race and make the most of every opportunity.
In 2018 the 25-year-old won the ‘Dunlop #ForeverForward’ award, which is given to the driver who gains the most race positions across the season.
Ingram has had multiple climbs from a lowly grid position to the top five, and as a result eventually pipped BMR driver Ash Sutton to the award, 173 points to 150.
What is clear from Tom Ingram’s race performances is that he will not shy away from physical racing.
The thrilling three-wide pass on Sutton and Plato at the first turn at Croft, making his way past Turkington and Andrew Jordan in horrendous conditions at Knockhill, and the aggressive fending off of Turkington on the final lap of race thee at Silverstone all display how ‘Tingram’ is capable of elbows-out racing.
Wherever Tom Ingram starts, and whenever it is during the season, he can be expected to utilise his natural ability and race hard.
Influential in Tom Ingram’s recent title assaults has been his maturity.
In both on and off-track scenarios, he remains level headed and mindful of the long game.
On track, Ingram is calculated in how he races, assessing where and when is best to challenge before making moves that, ultimately, do not jeopardise the race result.
During the second race at Silverstone last year, Ingram was methodical in making manoeuvres that would stick, and as a result climbed from 15th on the grid to take a memorable race win.
Then at the final race weekend at Brands Hatch GP Ingram raced from 14th to fourth, making decisive moves in an effort to keep the championship alive.
The Speedworks driver not only possesses the ability to make these moves – as previously highlighted – but he does them with the championship in mind, a trait so often displayed by his 2018 title rival Colin Turkington.
Off-track Tom Ingram is exceptional.
Despite only being 25 years of age, he conducts himself with maturity beyond his years.
Immensely likeable, Ingram is consciously aware of his fans and the work of his team.
Additionally Tom does not involve himself in blaming others or mind games, that can often dictates BTCC storylines.
In managing his spoken behaviour, Ingram enhances his title challenge by motivating his team for the length of the season.
Tom Ingram races smart and speaks diligently, ultimately putting him in a position to fight for title glory.
Tom Ingram is continually growing as a racing driver, but amplifying his performance is the ever-improving team behind him.
Speedworks Motorsports joined the BTCC in 2011, and was one of the first teams to enter an NGTC specification car.
The Toyota Avensis has been their car of choice, and the team have been fundamental in making sure each iteration improves the teams performance.
However, as manufacturer-backed outfits like Team Dynamics and WSR bring new cars almost bi-annually, the Avensis has become slightly outdated.
2019 heralds a fantastic opportunity for Speedworks as Toyota will provide manufacturer support to the Cheshire squad.
Rebranded as Team Toyota GB, the team will benefit from exclusive running of the new Corolla model, an opportunity that Ingram and team will relish.
Having run extensive testing of the car last week, the Team Toyota GB squad will have already ironed out some of the typical new car problems, and Tom Ingram well acclimatised to the new machine.
In addition to the Corolla and Toyota backing, the experience of competing for titles must not be understated.
Coming into 2019, the team are well rehearsed in what is needed, and what must be avoided, in order to challenge for titles in the super competitive BTCC.
It’s not by mistake that you take back-to-back Independent drivers and teams trophies; Speedworks is a title-worthy team.
The combination of Tom Ingram’s natural pace, overtaking prowess, and his maturity makes him a shoe-in for a title challenge.
His prospects are further amplified by Speedworks Motorsports receiving manufacturer backing and a brand new car for 2019.
The 25-year-old is on the verge of making a boyhood dream a reality.
From the first round in April, to the final lap in October, it is almost certain that he will be in contention for the BTCC drivers crown, and having been beaten to it twice, ‘Tingram’ will be doing everything to make sure it’s ‘third times the charm’.
Tom Ingram, undoubtedly one to watch this year.
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