The all-new Toyota Corolla is confirmed as contesting the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, entered by Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport and driven by two-time BTCC Independent Champion, Tom Ingram. As one of the most engaging of drivers in the championship, complete with a huge fan following, the combination looks like a winning one from the outset.
Built at Toyota’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire, the new Corolla Hatchback will take to the track at the same time as the road-going model arrives in British showrooms in spring 2019. Of course, with a brand-new title sponsor for the series (in Kwik-Fit) and a brand-new Toyota Corolla racing car, Tom is sure to feel highly energised during the closed season and will re-emerge on a high, ready to tackle the challenge of one of the closest and most tightly-fought race championships in the world.
The car’s debut in the UK’s premier racing series brings the world’s best-selling car nameplate, with more than 45m worldwide sales to date, and Team Toyota GB back to the BTCC, a competition in which both have a tremendous heritage. Chris Hodgetts claimed back-to-back championship titles memorably in a Corolla GT Coupe in 1986-87 and Team Toyota GB remained a front-running force in the competition through to the mid-1990s.
The Corolla campaign is being masterminded by Speedworks Motorsport, a team with a reputation as the BTCC’s foremost giant-killers, having taken the fight to Honda, Subaru and Ford in recent years. Ingram posted nine victories and regular front-running performances in his previous Toyota Avensis, securing both the Independent Team and Driver trophies in 2017 and 2018.
The 25-year old driver is tipped widely as a future BTCC champion and is one of the undisputed rising stars of the race series. He has competed with Speedworks Motorsport since his championship debut in 2014 and will take his seat in the new Toyota Corolla next season, with his eyes set firmly on the ultimate prize.
Speedworks Motorsport, based in Cheshire, debuted in the BTCC in 2011, competing as an ‘independent’, i.e. neither supported, nor promoted by a ‘factory’ team. Its new association with Team Toyota GB for 2019 will see the team take a step up to the ranks of the BTCC’s manufacturer-supported teams. The first race date for the new Corolla will be the opening round of the 2019 season at Brands Hatch on 6-7 April.
Christian Dick, Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport Team Principal, said: “We have been establishing an ever-closer relationship with Toyota GB for the past few years, nurturing that bond through our common passion for motorsport, engineering excellence and, ultimately, success. Our new relationship with Toyota will enable us to take that final step and really push for the overall BTCC title. As a team, we are ready to pitch ourselves against the very best in Britain and, with Toyota GB’s backing, we are confident of doing precisely that.”
Ingram is understandably enthusiastic at the prospect of driving the new Corolla, as he stated: “What we have accomplished as a small, independent outfit, particularly over the last two seasons, has been nothing short of mind-blowing and demonstrates just what this little team is made of. To attract the support of Toyota is a phenomenal achievement and huge credit must go to Christian and Amy Dick, who have worked so hard to pull this deal together. For Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport, 2019 starts now and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.”
Andrew Cullis, Toyota GB Marketing Director, added: “Bringing the Corolla name and Team Toyota GB back to the British Touring Car Championship in 2019 is a great way of helping us launch this important, all-new British-built car. Speedworks Motorsport and Tom Ingram have a winning track record and we look forward to working with them throughout the coming season.”