It was perhaps inevitable that Tom Ingram would turn out to be a racing driver. Some of his earliest memories, after all, are of sitting in his father’s go-kart in the family’s garage in High Wycombe – dad Bruce used to compete in the ‘ProKart Heavy’ category – and pretending he too was racing.
With that, a lifelong passion was ignited, and by the time he was five, Tom was tearing up the Tarmac himself. Although legally not able to race for another three years, he put all of his practice laps to good use and when he did finally make his competitive bow – in karting’s entry-level Open Cadet class – he was an immediate podium-finisher.
The following seven years would yield a collection of trophies, highlighted by championship glory in BRDC Stars of Tomorrow – the same series that had catapulted a certain Lewis Hamilton to prominence in its previous guise as McLaren Mercedes Champions of the Future – at the age of 13.
Buoyed by that success, Ingram graduated to cars in 2009 in the Ginetta Junior Championship – on the support bill to the UK’s premier motorsport series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). After reaching the rostrum in only his second weekend and claiming his first pole position barely a month later, he returned in 2010 and – courtesy of an eye-catchingly consistent run of victories and podiums – duly clinched the coveted crown.
Two more titles would follow over the next three seasons – the Ginetta G50 Cup in 2011 and Ginetta GT Supercup in 2013, as the young prodigy unleashed a stunning streak of 22 consecutive top three finishes in the latter campaign, 11 of them race wins. He was simultaneously appointed a ‘Rising Star’ by the illustrious British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) and selected as one of the first two members of the KX Akademy talent search initiative, which granted him access to invaluable career guidance and advice from two-time BTCC champion Jason Plato.
His support series apprenticeship served, Tom joined his mentor on the main stage in 2014 – while the BRDC promoted him to its ‘SuperStars’ programme. Piloting Speedworks Motorsport’s Toyota Avensis, he stunned by qualifying sixth amongst the 29 high-calibre protagonists on his BTCC debut at Brands Hatch, beaten only by five former title-holders. He would go on to score points 19 times out of 30, concluding the campaign as top rookie.
Ingram’s sophomore season in the championship in 2015 then yielded a memorable maiden podium for both driver and team at Rockingham – the culmination of a thrilling race-long duel for the lead with Plato.
His breakthrough pole position and victory followed in the 2016 curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, with a second success at Silverstone and four additional rostrum appearances elevating him into the top ten in the final standings for the first time.
The 2017 and 2018 campaigns would see Tom establish himself as a bona fide title contender, winding up third and second in the overall classification as he added seven more wins and 11 podiums to his burgeoning CV. In 2018, he pushed multiple champion Colin Turkington right the way to the wire, while securing Independent Drivers’ honours in both seasons.
The arrival of Toyota GB factory backing and a brand new Toyota Corolla for 2019 resulted in four further triumphs, before Ingram again staked his claim to the biggest prize in British motorsport in 2020 with a committed bid for glory, ultimately settling for fourth position with another three victories to his name.
For 2021, Tom switched to EXCELR8 Motorsport’s Hyundai i30N and defied all those that had predicted a period of acclimatisation by finishing runner-up first time out, going on to prevail in just his sixth race with the team at Snetterton. Subsequent successes at Brands Hatch and Knockhill – allied to six more rostrum visits – saw him enter the season finale in with a mathematical chance of lifting the laurels for the fifth consecutive year, eventually placing fourth.