2015 marks Speedworks Motorsport’s fifth year competing in the British Touring Car Championship. Five years competing at the top level of British motorsport also means five visits to the team’s home circuit of Oulton Park.
With the series annual visit to the North West just around the corner, there is no better time to look back at the team’s previous home appearances.
2014 saw another new driver lineup for Speedworks motorsport with promising youngster Tom Ingram joining the team. The multiple Ginetta champion moved up to the British Touring Car Championship with Speedworks after spending a number of years on the BTCC support package, winning every championship he had entered. The team also gave technical support to fellow BTCC debutant Simon Belcher and his Handy Motorsport squad.
Usually an exciting time for the team, the build up to the Oulton Park round was marred by a frightening accident for team principle Christian Dick just one week before.
While competing in the 24H series’ 12 hour race at Zandvoort, Dick was involved in a heavy crash with two other cars leaving him in hospital with multiple injuries.
Adding to that was the race against time the squad faced to rebuild Simon Belcher’s car after a shunt at the previous round at Thruxton.
Like the previous year, the team set out testing before returning to Oulton Park, and despite unfavourable weather conditions, the team had made progress.
The team was now even more eager to put on a good showing at their home round, and that is exactly what they did.
In qualifying, BTCC rookie Tom Ingram qualified in the top ten for the third time in four rounds, setting the ninth fastest time out of the record high of 31 entries. Belcher meanwhile was able to return to the track, which was nothing short of remarkable considering the state his car was in just five weeks earlier.
On race day Ingram backed up his stellar qualifying performance with a brace of top ten finishes. It could have been a hat trick of top ten finishes in race three before mechanical woes struck the #80 Toyota Avensis.
Ingram had lined up on the front row of the reversed grid for the final race of the day and was looking to battle amongst the podium positions and score his and the team’s highest ever BTCC finish before a fuel pressure sensor failed on the first lap of the race.
Despite the retirement, Ingram and the team came away from Oulton Park with nine points finishes from 12 starts.
What began as a hugely difficult time for the team, ended as one with smiles all round as the BTCC circus moved on to Croft.
Words: Dominik Wilde, Images: Mike Petch