Tom Ingram has confirmed he will remain with Speedworks Motorsport for his fourth season in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as he firmly sets his sights on a title challenge.
The youngster made his BTCC debut driving the Speedworks Toyota Avensis in 2014 and enjoyed his breakthrough campaign in 2016 with his first pair of BTCC wins, six podiums and a soft title challenge that had him in contention until the penultimate round.
Saying it was an 'easy decision' to re-sign, Ingram has opted to stick with Speedworks Motorsport in an upgraded Avensis, with a clear aim to build on the successes and mount a strong challenge for the championship.
“It was a very easy decision to stay with Speedworks,” he said. “In a championship as ultra-competitive and unpredictable as the BTCC, the importance of continuity can never be overstated.
“We made tremendous progress last season, and to win our first race together in the very first round was an incredible achievement. Our qualifying pace was superb and our race pace was equally strong. Quite frankly, I don't see anybody else in our position and with our level of resources doing a better job out there.
“It's vital in the BTCC to make hay on the good days and make the most of the bad days – but last year, our bad days were very, very bad. In races two and three at Brands Hatch Indy, Donington Park and Thruxton early in the season, we scored a grand total of two points and then Rockingham was quite literally a pointless weekend.
“The benefit of all the experience we have gained will galvanise us and we now have a much stronger package all-round and a completely different mindset and approach. The key will be to finish races, stay out of trouble and keep scoring points – and ultimately, I want to be going to Brands Hatch in October in with a shot at the overall title.”
For team owner Christian Dick, retaining Ingram for a fourth season represents a 'major coup' and he is confident it will allow the team to continue progressing into a formidable contender.
“Keeping Tom on-board is a major coup. He was unquestionably one of the BTCC's standout stars last year and with a competitive car underneath him, he consummately proved his potential with both his pace and racecraft, all underpinned by a mature and intelligent approach that belies his age. He is at the forefront of the series' next generation and a champion of the future, I am sure.
“There are clearly areas in which both we as a team and he as a driver still need to improve, but we have been working tirelessly on all fronts since last season ended and I think the benefits of that effort and remaining together for a fourth year will shine through when we hit the track. There has been a raft of updates to the Avensis that we are all very excited about, and we believe we can be genuine contenders for the Independents' crown in 2017. Brands Hatch cannot come round soon enough!”