Speedworks Motorsport racer Tom Ingram set his stall out in fine style, as the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship launched at the annual media day at Donington Park.
After a morning in front of the cameras and awaiting media representatives, where the BTCC’s organisers announced another capacity 32-car grid for the forthcoming 2017 Series, Ingram and the rest of the drivers were given their first chance, proper, to compare themselves to one-another, as they took part in an official test session.
Of the 32 drivers competing, no less than half of them have previously won races in the series, whilst there are five drivers who have won the championship outright, and five manufacturer entrants with the addition of BMW and Vauxhall this season.
Series director, Alan Gow, reiterated this: “We believe this season will set the bar even higher, with 16 race-winners highlighting the strength in depth throughout the field.
“Furthermore, attracting two new manufacturers to the grid demonstrates the ever-growing appeal of the BTCC both on and off track.”
Ingram and Cheshire-based Speedworks took the top spot on the timesheets, after the four-hour session in their newly liveried, ‘facelifted’ Toyota Avensis.
Ingram lapped the 1.9-mile National layout of Donington Park in a 1min 9.995secs, just 0.114secs ahead fellow Avensis racer Rob Austin.
Ingram, speaking to btcc.net afterwards, said: “I’m obviously happy with that. It goes to show that the immense amount of hard work put in by all the Speedworks boys over the winter has paid off.
“We had strong pace throughout and managed to get a lot done today in terms of the car balance and race distance runs. It’s been a good start”, he continued.
The BTCC kicks off at Brands Hatch on the April 2.