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Ingram explains reasons for using #1 for 2023 BTCC season

Reigning British Touring Car champion Tom Ingram has explained to Autosport why he has made the decision to use the #1 on his car for the 2023 season.

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8

Photo by: BTCC

Ingram claimed the BTCC title for the first time in the final race last year at the wheel of his Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai i30 N and, after the cars arrived in parc ferme, outgoing champion Ash Sutton peeled the #1 sticker off the window of his Motorbase Performance-run Ford Focus ST and stuck it onto Ingram’s car.

Ingram has always raced with the #80 – his only previous outright crowns came in Ginetta Junior in 2010 and in the Ginetta GT Supercup in 2013, both series from which he immediately graduated up the ladder.

“The #1 was such a decision to take,” Ingram told Autosport.

“It sounds bizarre, because #80 is what I’ve carried forever in every single car, it’s the number that I carried on my go-kart. That’s my number, that’s me!

“The decision that we made was to go with the #1 for a couple of reasons: the lovely gesture that Ash made at the end of the season by taking the number off his car and sticking it on mine, it would have felt wrong not to carry that forwards, because it was such a beautiful moment; and we also may never get another chance to defend a title, and what a privilege to be able to do it.”

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N

Tom Ingram, Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 TradePriceCars.com Hyundai i30N

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Ingram also backed the return of the option-tyre rule for 2023 – this was dropped last season while teams adapted to the extra car weight from the new hybrid system.

It comes in the wake of some observers believing that it is one artificial variable too many when used in conjunction with restrictions on hybrid for the most successful drivers, as well as reversed grids, but after some criticism that the action in 2022 was not as entertaining as in previous seasons.

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“I’m on the purist side of it – we should be able to have the fastest cars and the fastest drivers at the front each time,” said Ingram.

“But then it turns into boring racing, whereby it’s the same driver, the same car that’s at the front every time, and the premise of the BTCC is to add a bit of drama to it.

“It’s a TV show, it’s a circus, it needs to be entertaining for people to watch – that’s what keeps it interesting, why people love live sport, it’s the unpredictable nature of it.

“The fast cars and fast drivers will always stay at the front, it’s just a few more variations within it.

“I’m pleased that I was able to win the championship in maybe arguably the purest of years. However, it’s a show and we’ve got to make it entertaining.”

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