24 APRIL BTCC DONINGTON PARK
It was a stunning season opener for Bristol Street Motors Excelr8 Motorsport with a win for Tom Chilton, two podiums for Tom Ingram and Ronan Pearson deprived of a maiden top three finish.
The Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30N of Tom Chilton benefited from being one of those to pit for wet weather tyres at the end of the green-flag lap when rain made the going slippery.
Chilton was able to defeat fellow “Cobra driver” Adam Morgan in his West Surrey Racing BMW 330e M Sport (who pitted at the same time as Tom) by 7 seconds as the rain began to pour, making it impossible to mount a challenge for the podium for any driver who chose to stay on slicks.
The race began with Dan Cammish keeping Tom Ingram’s Hyundai at bay, but when suspension damage stranded Ricky Collard’s Toyota in the middle of the track, the safety car gave those on wet tyres even more of an advantage as they were able to close the gap to the stricken front runners who were on slicks.
Once the field was released again it took little time for Chilton and then Morgan to carve their ways to the front, and it was just a matter of time before those who had started on slicks eventually gave up the struggle and pitted.
As the race settled down, Chilton was leading Morgan and Tom’s teammate and BTCC debutant Ronan Pearson, who had also pitted his Excelr8 Hyundai at the end of the green-flag lap.
The only downside on a magnificent opening weekend for The Excelr8 Motorsport team was when Pearson was excluded after his Hyundai failed the post-race ride-height check.
COBRA SEATS CUSTOMER TEAM PROFILE: Bristol Street Motors Excelr8 Motorsport
2022 marked EXCELR8’s most successful season to date, with Tom Ingram and Jack Butel joined by BTCC race winners Tom Chilton and Dan Lloyd in an expanded four-car outfit.
Entering the Manufacturers’/Constructors’ battle for the first time, the squad took third overall with its quartet of Hyundai i30’s, as well as third in the Teams’ Championship, while Ingram would claim a maiden overall Drivers’ title with the squad during Brands Hatch’s season finale.
Aiming to build on this success, this season Tom Ingram and Tom Chilton are joined by Nick Halstead and Ronan Pearson.
COBRA SEATS CUSTOMER DRIVER PROFILE: TOM INGRAM.
Tom made his BTCC debut in 2014 finishing the season as top rookie.
Ingram stayed with Speedworks Motorsports for 2015 and clinched a first BTCC podium for both himself and Speedworks at Rockingham following a thrilling race-long duel with two-time champion Jason Plato. He added to it with another second place in the Brands Hatch GP finale.
He remained with Speedworks for a third consecutive campaign in 2016, finishing tenth in the overall standings.
In 2017 Tom claimed four victories – one each at Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Knockhill and Silverstone marking what was by far his best BTCC challenge to-date – ultimately good enough for third in the overall standings, and top of the tree in the Independents’ Championship for both driver and team.
Ingram pushed things even closer in 2018, taking the title battle right down to the wire. He narrowly missed out on the overall Drivers’ crown by 12 points in a straight fight with Colin Turkington, but did once again seal the Independents’ trophy for both himself and his team.
Speedworks acquired Toyota factory backing and a brand-new Corolla for 2019, becoming Team Toyota GB with Ginsters as Ingram triumphed on four separate occasions – including a sensational double-top at Silverstone.
In 2020, Ingram once again drove the Speedworks-run Corolla to a number of victories and podiums under the ‘Toyota Gazoo Racing UK with Ginsters’ banner, ending the year fourth in the standings.
During the 2021 campaign, Ingram took on new challenges, moving to Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com and piloting one of the squad’s Hyundai i30N’s.
But it was 2022 where Ingram finally won the most coveted prize in British motorsport. Here, Tom would claim six race victories during the campaign – more than any other driver on the grid – and a further six rostrum finishes to seal the championship in the final event of the year.