Rising star Tom Ingram rubs shoulders – and wheels – with F1 legends

Rising star Tom Ingram rubs shoulders – and wheels – with F1 legends

18.12.2009: It is not very often that, as an aspiring young racing driver, you get the opportunity to go wheel-to-wheel against former F1 stars and Le Mans 24 Hours winners – but for Tom Ingram, that dream became a reality when he was invited to compete

It is not very often that, as an aspiring young racing driver, you get the opportunity to go wheel-to-wheel against former F1 stars and Le Mans 24 Hours winners – but for Tom Ingram, that dream became a reality when he was invited to compete in the popular annual Johnny Herbert Karting Challenge.

Back in the summer, Tom stunned observers by returning to his karting roots in the midst of his maiden car racing campaign in the BTCC-supporting Ginetta Junior Championship, and finishing an excellent second in a special Red Bull Racing-backed outing at Daytona Raceway Milton Keynes, doggedly chasing down the leader – experienced sportscar competitor Chris Dymond – for all he was worth in the closing stages.

The High Wycombe ace obviously left a lasting impression, because when organisers were drawing up the list of entrants for the end-of-season Johnny Herbert Karting Challenge, his name again featured prominently – and he headed to Docklands Raceway in London for a bit of fun...with a competitive twist.

“It was first mentioned a while back, when we did the race at Milton Keynes,” Tom explained. “I then didn’t hear anything more about it until two or three weeks ago, when they told me I was in the team – that came as quite a surprise!

“Milton Keynes had been a lot of fun, so I was really looking forward to getting back in the kart at Docklands – though I had no idea just how many people would be racing! At Milton Keynes there had been ten drivers in the race I was in; at Docklands there were 22 teams of six drivers each! It was definitely the biggest event I’ve ever competed in.”

Admitting that the track was ‘pretty good fun’ – bucking the general trend of short indoor circuits – Tom twice put his team’s down-on-power kart fifth on the grid during qualifying, but as his less-experienced team-mates similarly took their turns, the RaceDriversInc.co.uk entry slipped down the order to an eventual ninth position.

Quicker than his five team-mates – two of whom similarly compete professionally, with the other three being enthusiastic amateurs – the former British Karting Champion was entrusted with driving the second and last stints, when he determinedly hauled the kart up from 14th place to 11th at the chequered flag, and set a superb best lap time for the team that would incredibly have been good enough for third on the grid in qualifying.

More importantly still, the 16-year-old’s efforts allowed the RaceDriversInc.co.uk crew to claim the internecine honours in their fraught duel with sister team RaceDriversInc.com – even though a brace of black flags for his team-mates arguably cost the sextet a top ten finish in the final reckoning.

There was even the odd skirmish along the way with the likes of organiser and 1995 British Grand Prix winner Herbert, Michael Schumacher’s former F1 team-mate Riccardo Patrese, ex-Super Aguri star Anthony Davidson, five-time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro and GP2 Series debutant Sam Bird amongst others...

“It was a lot of fun!” Tom enthused. “I’ve never done anything like a team event before – it felt quite odd to be relying on other people to do your work for you! That was something very different for me.

“It was great to be battling with such big names – and having a few altercations with a few of them! You see them on TV, but you never think you’ll actually get the chance to race against them at any point. Some people were really competitive – and I think I was one of them!




“The atmosphere was really good; there were so many people there – the place was absolutely jam-packed – and it was for such a good cause as well, being in aid of the Harry Birrell Scholarship Trust. All of the teams raised a lot of money for charity, and we got two shirts signed by all the celebrity drivers too that will be auctioned off at a later date. I just really enjoyed the day.”

To keep up-to-date with Tom’s latest career news and results, please visit: www.tom-ingram.com


- RA -  Jeff Bloxham Photography

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/johnny-herbert-karting-challenge-tom-ingram-kart-racer-red-bull-backed-milton-keynes---74035.html

18.12.2009 / MaP

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