AFTER seven successful seasons, Speedworks Motorsport are parting ways with their driver Tom Ingram.

When the new British Touring Car Championship begins later this year, the Northwich-based team will have a new driver for the first time since 2014.

Since then, the team has progressed to consistently feature at the front of the grid with Ingram behind the wheel.

Together, the combination has claimed 16 race wins, 41 podium finishes, four pole positions and 13 fastest laps – as well as back-to-back Independent Driver and Team crowns in 2017 and 2018.

However, conflicting commercial interests have forced the two parties to go their separate ways – but there are certainly no hard feelings.

“Speedworks was obviously my first team in the BTCC, and they quickly became like a family,” said Ingram.

“I have a lot of very special memories from our time together. We’ve been on an amazing journey and have both done ourselves proud.

“It’s been such a fairytale story in a lot of respects, with so many milestones simultaneously achieved along the way – first podium, first pole position, first race win, first fastest lap, first title.

“I’m sad to be leaving, of course, but there’s no ill-feeling and I owe everybody at Speedworks a massive ‘thank you’ for our seven years together.

“We’ll still be good friends moving forward. We’ll just be wearing different team jackets.”

Time is still on Speedworks’ side in their quest for a new driver, with the 2021 campaign due to begin at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend.

While he will be a rival going forward, team principal Christian Dick insists Ingram will be “a lifelong friend.”

“There’s a great deal of pride in what we’ve accomplished, with a lot of mutual goals reached together,” he said.

“In the early years, we consistently punched above our weight as an independent team, and that of course secured us manufacturer backing which has enabled us to take the next step and truly fight for the overall championship.

“Seven years is a long partnership by BTCC standards, and we grew together.

“It was an excellent relationship – Tom swiftly became part of the Speedworks family – and I look back now with nothing but very fond memories.

“We had a lot of great times together both on and off-track and Tom will remain a lifelong friend.

“We all wish him the very best in his new challenge, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will do a superb job wherever he ends up.”