The new Toyota Corolla that rising star Tom Ingram will campaign in this year's Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) has had its first test outing, at Oulton Park.
The Corolla, which goes on sale as a road car in the spring, will be prepared by Speedworks Motorsport and entered by Team Toyota GB. Ingram is a two-time BTCC Independent class champion and battled eventual title winner Colin Turkington for the crown last season.
Ingram gave the car its first outing in a pre-season BTCC test at the Cheshire track today (Friday). The car ran in a testing livery. While the road-going Corolla will be sold in the UK with a choice of two hybrid powertrains only, the race car will compete in the BTCC with a 2.0-litre petrol engine due to the regulations.
The Corolla is rival for the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf in the road car market and its nameplate has a long history in the BTCC, with Chris Hodgetts winning back-to-back championship titles in a Corolla GT Coupé in 1986 and 1987.
Last season, driving a Toyota Avensis, 25-year-old Ingram scored three victories in the BTCC and he and the Speedworks team scooped both the Independent Driver and Team trophies in 2017 and 2018. He has had nine BTCC wins in his career so far.
The new Corolla will be joined on the 2019 grid by three examples of the new BMW 3 Series, which will be run by the West Surrey Racing outfit. Turkington will drive one of those cars.
BTCC organisers have outlined plans to introduce hybrid power to the series from 2021, having already moved forward a mooted 2022 start date.