2021 was already going to herald a new era for Northwich-based Speedworks Motorsport.

They were already looking for a replacement for ever-present driver Tom Ingram, but now there will be an extra race seat for them to fill when the British Touring Car Championship resumes.

Speedworks have confirmed they have acquired the license to run a second car in the competition under the Toyota Gazoo Racing UK banner, meaning they can make a genuine assault on the manufacturer and team crowns for the first time.

Having made its BTCC debut in 2011, Speedworks has run as a single-car entry since 2014, going on a giant-killing spree with its trusty Toyota Avensis – a stellar effort that yielded nine victories, 17 rostrum finishes and back-to-back Independent Teams’ titles in 2017 and 2018 – prior to gaining official manufacturer status.

That paved the way to a further seven race wins, 15 podiums, two pole positions and five fastest laps with the potent new Toyota Corolla in 2019 and 2020 – on each occasion, entering the final weekend of the season still in contention for overall drivers’ honours.

Now, for the first time, Toyota Gazoo Racing UK is primed to do battle for all three trophies – Drivers’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ – in what is commonly regarded as the world’s toughest and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series, with two Corollas set to join the grid for the forthcoming campaign.

“It’s fantastic to be able to confirm our expansion to two cars this year,” said team principal Christian Dick.

“It’s a step we have been targeting for a while, and something we knew needed to happen if we were to have a real shot at winning the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championships in a series as ultra-competitive as the BTCC.

"It’s tremendously motivating for everybody involved.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a single-car entrant over the past seven years – outperforming and outscoring many teams running two or more cars, which is quite a feat – and I cannot wait to see what we can now accomplish with a second Corolla in the garage.

"We had arguably the fastest car in the field towards the end of last season, and we are confident of unlocking even more pace from it.

“Whilst we’re under no illusions about the size of the challenge ahead, we’ve proved we are more than capable of running two cars before, the Speedworks guys and girls are the best in the pit-lane and we have a dynamic new driver line-up that will be unveiled soon, representing an exciting blend of youth and experience.

"We are immensely grateful to Toyota UK for their ongoing support, and we fully intend to repay that through our on-track performance and results over the coming months.”

Speedworks say they will confirm their driver line-up for 2021 in the coming weeks after making the decision to part ways with Ingram, who has driven for the team since 2014, last month.

After a revised BTCC schedule was released yesterday, the 10-event, 30-race season will now kick off at Thruxton on the weekend of May 8-9 – five weeks later than initially planned – to maximise the opportunity for spectators to attend all events.