Tom Ingram: “We have to manage expectations”

Tom Ingram says he feels Speedworks needs to “manage expectations” when it introduces the all-new Toyota Corolla into the British Touring Car Championship this season.

The team will take on a manufacturer programme for the first time after securing backing from Toyota GB, with development of the new car on-going ahead of the start of pre-season testing.

Early reaction to the Corolla programme has been hugely positive amongst race fans, and Ingram said he was excited about getting down to the work once the first car is completed.

“We hope to have a shell back in the next few weeks so we can get to work and start to see what she’ll look like but the design work so far looks great,” he said. “If the finished car goes half as good as it looks, then we’ll be laughing.

“It’s never easy to get a manufacturer involved in something like the BTCC and this is the result of an ever-evolving process. With the new Corolla being launched, the timing was right for the Team Toyota GB name to the return to the BTCC and it was all just a perfect fit.

“We know that we’ve done a good job in recent years and that it could have been even better with a little bit more support to take us to the next level – which we now have. The reaction so far has been incredible and the support people have shown is something that we can take into 2019 with what I’m sure will be a great looking race car.”

Ingram admitted that the additional support from Toyota would increase the pressure to challenge right at the sharp end of the grid but said the focus in year one of the new programme would be to learn as much as possible.

“Of course there will be more pressure and we have to manage expectations,” he said. “In the first year, we’ve got to get our heads round the car in the same way that others have done, like Team Dynamics. They spent 2018 learning all about the new Civic and they are going to come out stronger this year as a result of that.

“We have a lot of testing to do ahead of round one but it is going to be tough to put a campaign together. We have to learn all about the tyres, we have to learn about how the car runs with ballast and all that kind of stuff that will take time, but we are confident that we can hit the ground running when we get to Brands Hatch for the opening round.”