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Excelr8 open to customer BTCC Hyundais; Ingram tipped to stay

Leading British Touring Car Championship team Excelr8 Motorsport has said that it is open to a customer supply of its Hyundai i30 N Fastback for next season.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

The admission comes at the start of what looks set to be a hectic BTCC silly season, albeit with the team’s reigning champion Tom Ingram hinting that he will stay with the Sussex squad into 2024.

Talk at last weekend’s Silverstone round that Excelr8 could expand from its current four-car line-up to six was swiftly denied by the team.

“I don’t know where that rumour has come from,” Excelr8 owner Justina Williams told Autosport.

“Excelr8 are definitely not going to be going up to six cars, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be involved with six cars.”

When asked whether this meant a willingness to supply two customer Hyundais, Williams added: “We’re always really keen to help people.

“If someone says, ‘Can I have your help?’, then as long as it works for all parties that’s something that we’d consider.”

The team recently announced a ‘multi-year’ extension of its existing deal with title sponsor Bristol Street Motors, leading to speculation that this means the retention of Ingram along with popular veteran Tom Chilton.

“We’ll see what goes on,” said Ingram, who spent the first seven years of his BTCC career with Speedworks Motorsport before joining Excelr8 for 2021.

“My plan is consistency. I’ve always enjoyed the consistency of staying with the same team and the same engineers, mechanics for many years.

“That’s always been my MO and will continue to be.”

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Hyundai i30 N Fastback

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Ingram also paid tribute to rookie team-mate Ronan Pearson, whose deal to remain with Excelr8 for 2024 and 2025 was confirmed on the eve of the Silverstone weekend.

The 21-year-old Scot allowed him an easy pass in the final race at Silverstone – as he did last month at Knockhill – in an attempt to strengthen Ingram’s title bid.

“I’m pleased with Ronan’s pace this weekend – he’s really come on as a driver, which is really nice to see,” said Ingram.

“He was a proper team-mate to me in that last race, which was very nice of him. We all spoke in the truck as we do [before the race] – I owe him a couple of beers, or a couple of drams!

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“He’s good lad. He’s coming on strong. He’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”

Pearson’s pre-season preparation upon his late graduation from the Mini Challenge was disrupted by the poor weather that hit most teams’ test programmes.

“The raw pace is there, and I’m now getting into the swing of what touring car racing is about,” said Pearson, who set a race fastest lap in the August Donington Park round.

“I’m loving the car, and there’s nothing that comes close to it [in terms of preparation] unless you’re actually doing it.

“Technically we had five days before the season, but we’d get to places and it was raining.

“But now it’s finally clicking. In FP1 I leave the pitlane and we can turn it on. And I’ve been learning a lot from the two Toms.”

Excelr8 has also extended its deal with engine builder Swindon, which produced a bespoke Hyundai engine in time for the 2022 season in which Ingram claimed his first title, to run up to the end of 2026.

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