Tom Ingram is approaching the upcoming British Touring Car Championship race weekend at Thruxton in confident mood, following a positive and productive pre-event test and a hugely popular maiden win for the new Toyota Corolla at Donington Park last time out.

In front of some 4,500 members and families from Toyota Manufacturing UK – with Donington situated just down the road from the TMUK plant at Burnaston – the 25-year-old Wycombe-born ace led from lights-to-flag as he effortlessly converted the reversed grid pole position into a commanding victory.

Reigning two-time BTCC Independents’ Champion Ingram boasts an excellent record at Thruxton – the high-speed Hampshire circuit was the scene of his first podium finish in car racing in 2009 and first win a year later, and he has three rostrum appearances to his name there in the BTCC. He lapped third-quickest in the morning session of the official TOCA test day at the track last month before the squad switched its focus to set-up work in the afternoon, leaving team and driver alike quietly confidentof another strong weekend.

Ingram said: “Thruxton is a unique circuit – there’s nowhere else like it in the country. Going there for the test with a new car was a bit of a step into the unknown, but it went very well, which was encouraging. We were able to work through everything on our list – most of all, it was about trying to get a proper handle on the Corolla through the high-speed sections, which is the key to a good lap time there and I think we’re in a good place.

“With the BTCC going to Thruxton twice this year, it’s even more important to get to grips with everything quickly because there are double the points on offer, but we left feeling quietly confident and will return in the same mindset.

“Thruxton’s high-speed nature and succession of quick corners results in high tyre degradation, and the slower sections towards the start and end of the lap make it tricky to strike the optimum set-up, but there’s no question that it’s an incredible challenge from a driver’s perspective. You always tighten your belts a bit before you get to Noble, Goodwood and Church, which are three of the fastest corners in British motorsport. You’re properly hanging on through there – real edge-of-the-seat stuff.

“I’m feeling excited, and the target for the weekend has to be three good, solid points-scoring finishes. We’re close to the top of the table points-wise but not carrying too much ballast, which is a nice position to be in – we’ve learned over the past couple of seasons that leading the championship at this stage can make your life very difficult in qualifying and race one.

“We still have a lot of development to come with the Corolla, and as we have always said, we expect to be much stronger over the second half of the year. To win so early on was really a bonus, but we’re not getting carried away as we are well aware that there remains a big challenge ahead.”