Those of you familiar with the BTCC will have noticed a name which has been cropping up more and more over the last two years, and the excitement reached a head on April 3rd 2016 at the season opener at Brands Hatch, that name is Tom Ingram. The 22 year old from High Wycombe has taken the BTCC by storm at the start of 2016 and two podium finishes from the first six races of the year are evidence enough that Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport are a force to be reckoned with in the BTCC. I must admit, I’m thrilled to see Speedworks come to the fore, especially after they were my tip to be the dark horses of 2016 back at the end of March.
Fast forward two race weekends and Tom Ingram has firmly cemented himself as one to watch this coming season and would have almost certainly been much higher up the championship order had it not been for a coming together with Rob Collard (through no fault of his own) in race two at Brands Hatch. So just how did Tom Ingram ensure his place as one of the BTCC’s rising stars? I’ve looked back at Ingram’s short, but highly successful career in my latest edition of Just Who Is, my mini series highlighting the best young talent in motorsport.
Ingram’s car racing career began in 2009 when he graduated to the Ginetta Junior Championship after eight seasons in Karts. Despite being forced to sit out six rounds of the 2009 season Ingram showed glimpses of his great potential and managed to finish in 12th place in the championship with two pole positions and podium finish to his name. 2010 was the year the BTCC paddock really began to sit up and take notice of Tom Ingram, when he became the Ginetta Junior Champion and tested the PIRTEK Racing Vectra of Andrew Jordan. 2011 saw Ingram continue his rich run of form by winning the Ginetta G50 Supercup with two rounds to spare and six wins in the 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup followed as Ingram won Jason Plato’s KX Academy Scholarship on his way to third place in the championship.
2013 saw Tom Ingram go one step better as he became Ginetta G50 Supercup Champion with an incredible streak of 22 podiums and 11 race victories with JHR Development. Such dominant performances were bound to make teams in the BTCC paddock step up and notice and sure enough following his stunning 2013 season, Ingram was signed up to Speedworks Motorsport to drive the Toyota Avensis for the 2014 season. At just the age of 20, Ingram finished his debut season as the top rookie taking 15th place in the championship with 12 top ten finishes out of 30 races.
More success would follow in 2015 when Ingram drove his Speedworks Avensis to 13th place in the championship table, scoring a memorable debut podium in an epic battle with Jason Plato in race three at Rockingham. Following Rockingham, a solid points scoring round at Silverstone paved the way for another podium finish at the season finale at Brands Hatch GP by finishing race two in second place.
The first race of 2016 would see Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport go one place better as the Toyota Avensis scored pole position and the race victory in the first race of the season, a measure of pure car speed with none of the cars running championship success ballast. Race two would have surely seen Ingram score another podium finish if it was not for the unfortunate collision with Rob Collard up at the exit of paddock hill bend. Round two of the season at Donington Park would see another podium finish for Ingram and the Speedworks Toyota with a fine third place finish in race one.
For the first time in his career, Ingram heads to Thruxton next weekend as a proven BTCC race winner in a proven race winning car, which is among the fastest in the field. To be regularly talked about as one of the BTCC’s rising stars after just two full seasons in the sport is a remarkable achievement for any young driver and it will be fascianting to see just how far Ingram and Speedworks can push themselves over the course of a full competitive year. Maybe an Independent championship lies in wait at the end of the season?