TOM Ingram has said he will spend the early rounds of this season's British Touring Car Championship learning getting to grips with a new machine.

The 2019 campaign starts at Brands Hatch on Saturday when the Speedworks Motorsport driver will be behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla which replaces an Avensis in which he finished as runner-up last year.

A productive pre-season testing programme, which included a day with his rivals at the Kent circuit last week, has left the 25-year-old in confident mood.

"After driving the same car for five years, it inevitably takes a little bit of time to adjust to a new one," he said.

"But the feeling in the Corolla is already very good.

"I think we’re all feeling pretty positive; we’ve adopted a sensible approach and are moving in the right direction while there is still plenty of untapped potential."

Northwich Guardian:

Tom Ingram will compete for the first time in Speedworks Motorsport's new Corolla, under the Team Toyota GB with Ginsters banner, when the British Touring Car Championship season starts at Brands Hatch this weekend

Ingram already has five full seasons under his belt in the UK’s premier car racing series, all of them with the Northwich outfit.

Over that period he has claimed nine victories, 26 podium finishes and back-to-back Independent Drivers’ championship crowns in 2017 and 2018.

Speedworks took the corresponding team titles in those years too but this time around will compete as Team Toyota GB with Ginsters as a manufacturer entry alongside BMW, Honda, Subaru and Vauxhall.

The initial signs are encouraging, and Ingram was sixth on the time-sheets during that official test at Brands.

"I think we need to treat this first year with the Corolla as a bit of a learning curve and acknowledge the opening half of the season is likely to be spent getting to grips with it," said Ingram.

"It was good to have an opportunity to gauge ourselves against the rest of the field at the season launch, although it’s not necessarily the most accurate form guide – that won’t become apparent until qualifying."

Northwich Guardian:

Tom Ingram has tested Speedworks' new car at four venues, including at Brands Hatch last week, since the Northwich team completed a build of the machine at their workshop in Antrobus

Ingram took to the track at Oulton Park, Speedworks home circuit, when his 2019 challenger broke cover for the first time last month.

The team has tested at Spain’s Circuit Calafat and Donington Park, venue for the second BTCC round later this month, as well as racking up more than 70 laps at Brands.

“We’re happy with the way testing has gone on the whole," said team principal Christian Dick.

"We’ve made consistent progress and achieve a better understanding of how the Corolla works every time we take to the track.

"We need to remain mindful that it is a new car and that many of our competitors have a lot more miles on the clock with race-proven packages, but we are all excited to get the campaign started and see where we shake out."

Want to catch Tom in action this weekend? Here’s what you need to know:


British Touring Car Championship

Saturday, April 6

Qualifying 1510-1540

Live on from 1500

Sunday, April 7

Race one (24 laps) 1130

Race two (24 laps) 1415

Race three (24 laps) 1705

Live on ITV4, ITV Hub and