Reigning Ginetta GT Supercup champion Tom Ingram will step up to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2014 with Speedworks Motorsport, it has been confirmed.
The 20-year-old, who clinched the 2011 and 2013 Ginetta GT Supercup crowns, will drive a Toyota Avensis alongside an as-yet-unnamed driver, joining an enticing grid line-up that will include at least seven former champions.
A member of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) Rising Star and MSA Academy, Ingram's graduation to BTCC comes after a successful tenure in the Ginetta support series, during which time he also won the Ginetta Junior Championship in 2010.
Indeed, the man himself regards the move as a 'dream come true', not least the opportunity go up against BTCC legends of Alain Menu and Fabrizio Giovanardi.
“I think it's just about sunk in now,” he said. “I'm hugely excited. To finally join the BTCC really is a dream come true for me – when I started out in karting more than 12 years ago, not for one second did I ever believe we would make it this far.
“I'll be racing doorhandle-to-doorhandle with drivers I grew up watching on TV – heroes of mine. There are some massive names in the championship, and that certainly won't make for an easy year – but what a year it's going to be! There will be plenty of action all the way up-and-down the order.
“It will be a tremendous challenge and we need to remain realistic – it's shaping up to be the toughest season in BTCC history, I'll be up against a lot of seriously accomplished rivals and it will be my first year in a front-wheel-drive car. Looking at the calibre of the field, simply getting into the points will be an achievement all in itself, but I'm determined to do the best job I possibly can and I'd love to think that by mid-season, we can be targeting some decent finishes.”
Speedworks team principal Christian Dick is also confident Ingram is the right choice for his team to progress this season.
“Tom has stood out as one of the brightest young talents rising up through the ranks for a few years now,” he affirmed. “He's won the title in every car racing championship he's entered, and off the track, he is extremely professional and always presents himself very well. All of us at Speedworks are incredibly proud and excited to have him on-board, and we will give him as much assistance as we can and everything he needs to feel relaxed and comfortable inside the car and get up-to-speed as quickly as possible.
“We ended last season with quite a good package, so hopefully we can really hit the ground running straightaway in the first round of 2014 at Brands Hatch. Obviously with the sheer number of high-quality drivers on the grid, it's not going to be an easy season for anybody, but we are adopting a sensible approach and won't be putting Tom under any pressure to go out there and deliver immediate results.
“We are looking forward with justifiable optimism, and confident in the knowledge that it's truly a fantastic time to be a part of the BTCC.”