The all-new Toyota Corolla is to contest the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), entered by Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport and driven by two-time BTCC independent champion Tom Ingram.
Built at Toyota’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire, the new Corolla Hatchback will take to the track at the same time as the road-going model arrives in showrooms next spring.
The car’s debut in the UK’s premier race series brings the world’s best-selling car nameplate – more than 45 million worldwide sales to date – and Team Toyota GB back to the BTCC, a competition in which both have a great heritage. Chris Hodgetts memorably claimed back-to-back championship titles in a Corolla GT Coupe in 1986-87 and Team Toyota GB remained a front-running force in the competition through to the mid-1990s.
The Corolla campaign is being masterminded by Speedworks Motorsport, a team with a reputation as the BTCC’s leading giant-killers. Ingram posted nine victories and regular front-running performances in the Toyota Avensis, securing both the independent team and driver trophies in 2017 and 2018.
The new Corolla will take to the track at the same time as the road-going model arrives in showrooms
Ingram, 25, is widely tipped as a future BTCC champion and is one of the undisputed rising stars of the series. He has competed with Speedworks Motorsport since his championship debut in 2014 and will take his seat in the new Toyota Corolla next season with his eyes firmly set on the ultimate prize.
Speedworks Motorsport, based in Cheshire, entered in the BTCC in 2011, competing as an independent. Its new association with Team Toyota GB for 2019 sees the team take a step up to the ranks of the BTCC’s manufacturer-supported teams. The first race date for the new Corolla will be the opening round of the 2019 season at Brands Hatch on 6-7 April.
Christian Dick, team principal of Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport, said: “We have been establishing an ever-closer relationship with Toyota GB for the past few years, nurturing that bond through our common passion for motorsport, engineering excellence and, ultimately, success. Our new relationship with them will enable us to take that final step and really push for the overall BTCC title. As a team, we are ready to pitch ourselves against the very best in Britain and, with Toyota GB’s backing, are confident of doing just that.”
Ingram is equally enthusiastic at the prospect of driving the new Corolla: “What we have accomplished as a small independent outfit, particularly over the last two seasons, has been nothing short of mind-blowing and demonstrates just what this team is made of. To attract the support of Toyota is a phenomenal achievement and huge credit must go to Christian and Amy Dick, who have worked so hard to pull this deal together. For Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport, 2019 starts now and I cannot wait to see how it all unfolds.”
Andrew Cullis, marketing director for Toyota GB, said: “Bringing the Corolla name and Team Toyota GB back to the British Touring Car Championship in 2019 is a great way of helping us launch this important, all-new British-built car. Speedworks Motorsport and Tom Ingram have a winning track record and we look forward to working with them throughout the coming season.”