Tom Ingram: ‘Smaller field won’t make it easier’

Tom Ingram insists that a smaller field for the 2024 BTCC season won’t make it easier in his quest to reclaim the championship title.

Ingram missed out on defending his title last year after finishing as runner-up to Ash Sutton, and is expected to be one of the main contenders for honours again this time around in his EXCELR8-run Hyundai.

Speaking at the launch of the Team Bristol Street Motors livery, Ingram admitted that the reduction in numbers – following the loss of cars from Team HARD and One Motorsport – wouldn’t reduce the quality in the field, with the title battle set to be as strong as ever.

“Everyone says that the grid numbers are down, but that just means there is a higher percentage of people who could be at the front,” he said.

“The level of talent that remains for this season is very high and it means we have to work hard to maximise what we achieve every weekend – we can’t afford to have a bad one.

“The place where the smaller field will help is qualifying because there will be less traffic, but at the same time, no-one knows exactly how the new system will work until we’ve actually done it. It’s certainly going to add another variable that will make it interesting.”

Ingram will celebrate his 300th BTCC start this season whilst team-mate Tom Chilton will make his 500th appearance in the series later in the year.

Chilton heads into his third year with the team, and he agreed with Ingram that the reduced field wouldn’t reduce the action at the head of the pack.

“Having less cars will be good in qualifying as it reduces the chance of you having a lap ruined by traffic, and there will only be a few tenths covering the field,” he said. “That’s where the new rules are going to be interesting with the additional hybrid and some changes to the tyres, and I think a combination of the two will mean we see something similar to when we had ballast in terms of the performance between different cars.

“Last year the racing was close but we didn’t see much overtaking, whereas this year I think we’re going to see more overtaking in the races because of the changes that have been made.”