Ingram, Austin keep BTCC seats for 2017

Tom Ingram and Rob Austin will both stay with their respective teams for the 2017 BTCC season, it has been announced.

Ingram, Austin keep BTCC seats for 2017
#80 Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis
#80 Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis
Podium: Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport
#80 Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis
#11 Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport, Toyota Avensis
#11 Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport, Toyota Avensis
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport
#11 Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport, Toyota Avensis

Speedworks Toyota driver Ingram took his first two wins in the category last season on his way to 10th in the overall points, and he landed fourth place in the Independents Trophy.

“We made tremendous progress last season, and to win our first race together in the very first round was an incredible achievement,” said Ingram.

“Our qualifying pace was superb and our race pace was equally strong. I don’t see anybody else in our position and with our level of resources doing a better job out there.

“It’s vital in the BTCC to make hay on the good days and make the most of the bad days – but last year, our bad days were very, very bad.

“In nine of the 30 races, we didn’t score at all and in two more we picked up just a single point. If we’d been more consistent and averaged just eighth place in each of those races, we’d have won the championship.

“Having broken our duck, that box has been ticked and we can focus on the bigger picture. We have proved we deserve to be here and will go into the new season with a lot more confidence.”

Meanwhile, two-time race winner Austin, who was on the podium three times last year, will drive the Handy Motorsport Toyota for a second season.

Austin drove a front-wheel-drive car in the BTCC for the first time in 2016 and says that the lessons learned from the previous 12 months will help him move forward in the fresh campaign.

“We always knew there would be a learning curve relating to all aspects in 2016: driving, engineering, management and personnel," said Austin.

"The BTCC is so competitive, all of these aspects have to be perfect to get to the front and I will admit it took longer than I expected.

“Our continuous improvement each time out through the second half of last season, though, capped off with a front row qualifying and a great podium at one of my weakest tracks [Brands Hatch GP] to round the year off, shows that we just about got there in the end.

"There is no reason that form won’t continue, so it’s exciting to be going into the 2017 season with a car that can win.”

The Handy Motorsport operation, which was tended by Speedworks Motorsport in 2016, has moved into its own premises for 2017.

The team will be fielded from Handy’s Swindon base as a standalone entry.

Autosport / Matt James

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