Motorsport News - Sportscar
Ingram KX rivals into gear to head into Ginetta summer break as man in form
26th June 2012
Tom Ingram concluded the opening half of his 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup campaign with two reasons for cheer at Croft, tallying his fourth victory of the season to home in on the championship lead on the same weekend as he was inducted into the prestigious and newly-launched KX Akademy.
The KX Akademy is being fronted by two-time British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato, and has been set up to help out talented but underfunded drivers. Only two competitors in the whole of the UK have been selected to benefit from the scheme’s support in its inaugural year. The criteria for inclusion are talent, skill, determination, focus and the single-minded tenacity it takes to succeed in motorsport – all qualities Tom possesses in spades.
“It’s a tremendous honour and a fantastic opportunity to be picked to join the KX Akademy,” enthused the gifted young High Wycombe-based speed demon. “To be mentored by somebody as successful and experienced as Jason Plato – one of the true touring car greats – really is something money can’t buy, and I know I will learn so much from his expertise.
“It will boost my profile tenfold, and it means we’ve got the funding to see out the rest of the season; that is a huge weight off our minds, because notwithstanding the excellent support we’ve had from SKYCIG, Hansford Sensors and Matthew & Leigh-Anne Kirby this year, it was still very uncertain whether we would get through to the end of the championship. Now, with the KX Akademy behind me, I can relax and concentrate fully on what I’m there to do – drive a racing car and challenge for the 2012 Ginetta GT Supercup!”
Buoyed by that and brimful of confidence following his flawless domination in the preceding outing at Oulton Park, Tom headed to Ginetta’s home circuit of Croft in Yorkshire positive that in his JHR Developments-run G55, he had the package to get the job done. What’s more, he returned north with something of a score to settle, having stormed to arguably the finest triumph of his title-winning Ginetta G50 Cup campaign there in 2011, only to then be sent crashing lucklessly and expensively out of the next two races through no fault of his own.
“We had some unfinished business at Croft after last year, and I think that made us even more fired-up to come away with three strong results,” confessed the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star and MSA Academy member. “We were determined to do the business there this time around, capitalise on the run we had begun at Oulton and take as many points out of the championship leader as possible.
“Croft is just like a big kart circuit, and I love racing there. You need to be very precise and committed all the way around the lap, but at the same time, because the surface is so abrasive, you need to stay smooth on the tyres, too – it’s a real balancing act.”
After comfortably pacing the field in both wet and dry conditions during practice, Tom professed himself happy whatever the weather and in qualifying, the 18-year-old duly annexed his second pole position of the season.
“Just before we set off on the warming-up lap for race one, it began to rain and we were all on slick tyres,” he related. “The track became really damp and greasy very quickly; the first corner was very slippery, and I was unexpectedly faced with understeer and oversteer all at once! That played on my mind a bit, and although I tried to get as much heat into my tyres as I could, I was probably too cautious and when the starting lights went out, I ended up spinning my wheels on the wetter side of the grid.
“That cost me a place to Carl Breeze, and I spent the rest of the race trying in vain to find a way back past him. Carl is very experienced and has a knack of making his car wider than anybody else’s, and I didn’t want to chance a half-hearted overtaking move. There were perhaps a couple of opportunities, but they would have been pretty risky and with the championship leader behind me, I knew the most important thing was to score some decent points. I was satisfied with second place in the end.”
Flashing across the finish line literally right in Breeze’s wheeltracks – as the pair left the chasing pack trailing breathlessly in the wake of their frenetic pace – Tom made sure that in the first of the two ITV4 live-televised encounters the following day, the tables were swiftly turned.
“I got a fairly decent start from second on the grid, and once I had settled into a good rhythm, I focussed on trying to hound Carl into a mistake,” he recounted. “On lap six, he left a gap going into the final hairpin, and I knew it would probably be the only chance I would get. I went for the inside line, got the move made and was then able to pull away. It was brilliant to claim my fourth win of the season, and fastest lap too just topped it off. It was the perfect result.”
Easily the quickest driver on the track – even with a slow puncture – the KENNETT brand ambassador’s margin of supremacy when the chequered flag fell was a staggering 7.6 seconds. Race three then yielded a close third place from fourth on the reversed grid, barely a second shy of victory – incredibly, the furthest he was away from the top step all weekend.
That saw Tom leave Croft having narrowed his points deficit to the championship leader from 42 to 37 on dropped scores – and with the momentum palpably on his side, he is well aware that now is the time to really drive home his advantage.
“We need to make sure we carry our current form over the summer break and into the second half of the season,” acknowledged the former Ginetta Junior Champion and British Karting Champion. “The title is ours to chase. There’s still a long way to go, 13 more races and a lot of points on offer. We seem to have the upper hand over the other guys at the moment – so the key will be to maintain it!”
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