The second half of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season gets underway this weekend (11/12 Aug) at Snetterton in Norfolk, and the Dynojet Racing team and driver Frank Wrathall are raring to go after a long summer break.
Toyota Avensis driver Frank is hoping that Snetterton will mark a turning point in his BTCC season, just as it did last year. Frank’s fourth-place finish and Independents class win there in 2011 was the beginning of a second-half surge in form which netted the rookie driver and his rookie team three podium finishes and a total of three Independents wins.
This year, as last, the Dynojet boys have been getting to grips with an all-new car; the winter was spent creating a new Avensis from the lessons learned from the first NGTC Toyota. It’s been a battle, but top-four qualifying performances at both Thruxton and Croft hint at the potential of the package, even if there’s been only the one podium race finish so far.
“Snetterton was the turning point for us last year,” confirms Wrathall, “and the fourth place we scored was all the sweeter for being unexpected. But I don’t know what to expect from Snetterton this year. We know in which areas we are struggling with the car, and hopefully we can dial that out. If what we have done to the suspension and the steering has worked, then we will have a good meeting, and one of those is overdue.”
Wrathall’s target for the remainder of the year is not only to consolidate and hopefully to improve on his ninth place overall in the championship but also to net the first race win of the modern BTCC era for a Toyota. “It’s achievable,” he adds, “but the key will be a good qualifying performance and a bit of luck in the races, which is something which has been in short supply for us so far this year.”
The team enjoyed a positive test last week at Brands Hatch: “The circuit was busy with other cars, so traffic was a problem, but we covered around 80 laps and got through the whole programme. I was pleased with how the Toyota felt, and it was great to get behind the wheel again after what feels like months.”
Wrathall heads to Snetterton fresh from success in the world of historic racing, having claimed a brace of second-place finishes in the classic touring car races in July’s Silverstone Classic at the wheel of a 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier supertourer.
“We punched above our weight a bit,” said Frank. “The car had not even hit the track before the Thursday, and then we managed only four or five laps in testing. Qualifying was wet and I put it on pole by 2.5s – that was mega – and then I finished second in both races, beaten by a much more powerful car.
“The Cavalier was much more different to drive than I was expecting. It weighs 900kg as opposed to the Toyota’s 1300kg, so that is a big difference and it helps make it feel a lot more nimble. It was great fun and I really enjoyed it.”
The Dynojet Racing team is backed by FUCHS Titan Race, Mac Tools, Klenzan, Angel Springs, K&N, Graphix and Autoglym.