After stepping up into the G55 class for 2012, 2011 G50 champion Tom Ingram will be aiming for a third title in as many years as the action gets underway at the weekend.
Tom has ascertained a brilliant record in the Ginetta championships, clinching the Ginetta Junior Championship crown in 2010 (only his second season out of karts) and the Ginetta G50 Cup last year, but going into this year, he will be facing his sternest test yet.
After having received many offers for drives in 2012 following his 2011 success, the talented young High Wycombe racer signed with JHR for the upcoming season, a choice he believes was the right one.
“First and foremost, we wanted to go with a team that had a professional outlook, looked the part and did everything right and for us, JHR ticked all the boxes,” he explains. “Their success speaks for itself, and if you look at all the championships they have raced in, there’s clearly a huge amount of experience inside the team, which is very encouraging. The guys all seem extremely passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, and I just feel it’s a very positive career step for me.”
The only running Tom has been able to do in a G55 has been a handful of passenger laps on the Ginetta pre-season media day at Silverstone and during a ‘Help for Heroes’ track day, meaning the first time he will have the opportunity to really drive the car in anger or try anything out on it will be on practice day at Brands Hatch on Friday. But the 18-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star is adamant that will not hamper him in the slightest.
“We are on the back foot a little in that respect,” he muses, “given that a lot of the other drivers have been out testing since December, but by the same token, that’s no different to how it’s been over the last two years, and it’s never held us back before so there’s no reason why it should this year, either.
“I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve experienced of the G55 so far; the aerodynamics create a lot more downforce than on the G50, which means that through the high-speed stuff, it has so much more mid-corner grip. It’s obviously a little bit more powerful, too, and overall, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to drive. I’m really excited to be stepping into a new car and taking on a new challenge.
Going into this year’s championship Ingram is considered as one of the title favourites, and will be looking to be the one on top at the end of the year, a challenge which Ingram is eager to take on.
“There’s only one goal, and that’s to make it a hat-trick by winning the championship. The competition is going to be as tough as ever, so we’ve got to hit the ground running straightaway and really grab the bull by the horns. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out – until we get to the first round, I don’t think anybody really has any idea, but I’d say there are at least four other guys who will be serious title contenders.
JHR boss Steve Hunter is convinced that Tom is just the driver his team needs to replicate glory in the Ginetta GT Supercup.
“With any championship we enter, we never take it lightly, and having already won in every other support series on the BTCC package, our intention clearly is to emulate that success in the Ginetta GT Supercup,” he affirms. “Tom has won back-to-back titles in the past two years, and we want to be the team that takes him to a third.
“He has settled in superbly and is working well with all the boys, and he has proved over the last couple of years that he has the driving ability, technical feedback and mental strength you need to be a winner. There are some very good drivers out there in G55s this year, and our aim is to compete against them and beat them. There is so much more to winning a championship than simply being a quick driver, and we are confident that in Tom, we’ve got the complete package.”
The 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup Season gets underway at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey (http://www.jakobebrey.com)