Go 'Behind the Visor' as Andy Henley catches up with Tom Ingram, 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup G50 champion....

Q:
Tom, you have had huge success in a very short time racing cars. Your CV started in karts at the age of eight entering the Sandown Park Open Cadet Winter Championship where you finished second. Was this your first experience of racing and what sparked your love of racing?

Tom Ingram:
My first experience of racing was of watching my dad race in karts when I was about five year-old. I got a kart for Christmas and then on the day after Boxing Day we were out at Reading Trial Park.

Related Articles

Q:
You had brilliant results while rising through the karting ranks, gaining a total of nine championships. From those years, which was your hardest/ most memorable season and why?

Tom Ingram:
I think the hardest year was in 2006 when we won the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow British Championship. It was such a stressful year as we had completely run out of money and came very close to losing our house!

Q:
You won the WMASC Sports Personality of the Year in 2007 and 2008, how much of a boost was that for you, as a young driver, trying to make his way in the ultra-competitive world of motorsport?

Tom Ingram:
To win the sports personality of the year award was a great achievement for me. To win the same award as Sir Steven Redgrave was a huge honour, but then to win it the year after as well was just brilliant!!!

Q:
In 2009 you had your first attempt racing cars, finishing 12th for the season despite missing six rounds due to funding issues, how steep a learning curve was moving from karts to cars?

Tom Ingram:
My first year in cars was a season of ups and downs! Getting a podium in only my second weekend in cars and then get pole a Oulton by half a second had to be the highlights but then to get to halfway through the year and finding out we had to miss some of the races was just heart breaking. I had about 12 weeks without even sitting in the car, and when I came back at Silverstone I was straight on the pace as if I'd never been away!! But it was certainly a hard year to learn the car. I only had two days driving the car before the first round.

Q:
What was it that made you look to 'tin top'/ GT racing instead of following the usual single-seater to F1 career path that so many youngsters want to?

Tom Ingram:
I have always loved watching the BTCC and GT racing. I couldn't tell you why it's appealed to me more but I just love how close the racing is.

Q:
Clearly you made the right choice going this way; you won the Ginetta Junior Championship with five poles, five wins, 13 podiums and eight fastest laps. Did winning such a high profile series make it easier to raise sponsorship and find support for your career?

Tom Ingram:
To win the junior championship was just magical - it was just the best year of my life! I was so close to everyone at Hillspeed. With working for them (the team) and getting on so well with my engineer Neil and the rest of the guys, (it) was so special. It helped raise my profile for sure but I don't think it's ever easy to raise funding.

Q:
Your 2011 season proved to be incredibly successful, achieving eleven poles, nine wins, 13 podiums and ten fastest laps whilst taking the championship from such consistent and fast results. You must be riding high going into next season?

Tom Ingram:
This season was really good. Obviously winning my second title in two years is special for anyone but especially for us. With us not even knowing if we were racing until the Thursday before testing on Friday for the first round its mega to say that we were able to turn it all around and become champions. Obviously now we are looking at 2012 and getting people onboard. It's going to be hard but a hard challenge is always good.

Q:
Being quite young yourself, how do you feel about the fact that you will be a role model for so many young karters hoping to start their careers and what advice would you give them?

Tom Ingram:
I love it. Obviously when I was racing in karts they were some of the best days and so to be able to give something back to the kids in karting is something I love doing. But what I have said before and something I will say again and again is just never give up.

Q:
You also won the BRDC Rising Star Award this year, joining names like Alice Powell, Josh Hill and of course Lewis Hamilton. What did that mean to you to win this award?

Tom Ingram:
To be associated with the BRDC is so special for me and I try to get along to as many meetings at Silverstone and try to do as much with the BRDC as possible!!

Q:
Finally Tom, with all the success you had this year and last, what are you plans for next year? GT racing, BTCC or something totally different?

Tom Ingram:
Honestly couldn't tell you, I know what I'd like to do but it's all about funding and seeing what kind of deals we can get.

Q:
Thank you for your time Tom, I'd like to wish you the best of luck next season and we will hopefully see you back on the podium in whatever you chose to tackle next.

by Andy Henley