The 'Team Toyota GB' name will return to the BTCC grid next season as Speedworks Motorsport will step up to become a manufacturer-backed entry with a new Corolla model for Tom Ingram.
It marks a big step forward for the Speedworks Motorsport team, which has run a privately funded Avensis model in the championship since 2011 and for two-time Independents Trophy winner Ingram.
The new Corolla will be launched in the UK in 2019 and a version of the car is currently in build at Speedworks’ workshops. It is due to be ready to begin testing in early February and will run under the banner 'Team Toyota GB with Speedworks Motorsport'.
Initially the operation will be a one-car team, but with plans to expand to two machines in 2020.
Ingram, 25, said: “To have this new challenge in front of us and a new car on the horizon is something special and the realisation of a dream. It was where Speedworks and I wanted to go.
“It is a huge responsibility for us because we are not just looking after our own brand now, we are looking after the Team Toyota GB name, which is iconic in motorsport.”
It will be the first time the Cheshire-based Speedworks team, which was formed in 2005 by principals Christian and Amy Dick, has built its own race car.
Christian Dick said: “It still hasn’t really sunk in that we have got a manufacturer deal.
“Building a new car is a big step for a team, but the Avensis model we have run since we joined the BTCC has been through several evolutions and we have learned a lot of things along the way.
“We feel we have proved what we are capable of on the Independent scene and we are well aware that the BTCC Manufacturers’ battle is another level higher again, but as a team, we are ready to pitch ourselves against the very best in Britain and – with Toyota GB’s backing – we are confident of doing just that.”
Toyota’s most successful decade in the BTCC was the 1980s. Win Percy was the first to lift the crown for the Japanese firm when he triumphed in a Team Toyota GB-backed Corolla GT in 1982, before Chris Hodgetts went on to take back-to-back titles in the Corolla in 1986-87.
Toyota was also a mainstay of the championship during the early Super Touring years in the 1990s, running a factory-backed Carina from 1991 through to 1995.
Team Toyota GB, Toyota Corolla
Photo by: Toyota