AFTER a winter of frantic behind-the-scenes negotiations, Tom Ingram has secured his place on the grid for the MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Ingram will make his debut in the prestigious championship next month after signing with Speedworks Motorsport.

He will now race alongside Jack Goff, also from Wycombe, who retained his place in the RCIB Insurance Racing squad after finishing second in the final race of last season.

Ingram, who dominated proceedings in the Ginetta GT Supercup in 2013 to clinch his third car racing crown in four seasons, said: “I think it’s just about sunk in now.

“I’m hugely excited. To finally join the BTCC really is a dream come true for me.

“It’s been a long winter trying to put everything together. The BTCC is a colossal leap financially – pretty much the cost of four years’ Ginetta racing all rolled into one.

“There were times when I genuinely didn’t think it was going to happen, which was heart-breaking, to be truthful. Deadlines were getting closer and closer and not much headway was being made, but I’ve never given up on anything in my career before, and I wasn’t about to start now.”

Ingram can now look forward to lining up on the grid alongside seven former champions in what will be arguably the most competitive season in BTCC history.

Ingram said: “I’ll be racing doorhandle-to-doorhandle with drivers I grew up watching on TV – heroes of mine.

“It will be a tremendous challenge and we need to remain realistic. Simply getting into the points will be an achievement, but I’m determined to do the best job I possibly can and I’d love to think that by mid-season, we can be targeting some decent finishes.

“The bottom line is that it’s up to me to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.

“I’ve said all along that I don’t merely want to be on the grid – I want to make a really positive impression and forge a professional career for myself in the BTCC.”

Meanwhile, Goff is a year further on after making his BTCC debut last season.

After retaining his drive for the new season, he said: “It’s brilliant to have a second year. It’s going to be tough at the front of the field without a doubt, but there’s no reason why we can’t be fighting for podiums from the word go, and hopefully snatch that first win when we can.”

The BTCC season runs from March to October.