British Touring Cars is set to welcome Garstang’s Frank Wrathall to the opening grid at Brands Hatch in April after the 24-year-old racer was crowned the 2010 Ginetta G50 champion.
Frank claimed the Ginetta G50 Cup title, a touring car feeder series, last October in just his fourth season of car racing.
It means that this year he gets the chance to compete in the UK’s most popular race car championship with his family-run Dynojet team.
“Just to get to touring cars is a massive achievement for me as a driver, and also because we run the car ourselves and do it as a team,” enthused Frank.
Though, with British Touring Cars generating an audience of 14.1 million across ITV’s coverage last year, the Garstang flyer is under no illusions about the step up he and his team are taking.
“The hard work starts here to make a success of it. It’s going to be a tough year, full of disappointment,” he said candidly.
But make no mistake, despite moving for the first time to a front-wheel drive car and only being able to test his new Toyota Avensis for a month before the opening race the young driver is not too concerned.
“I’m confident we can quickly get to grips with the car and I would hope that towards the end of the season we could be finishing in the top ten,” said Frank.
And on the front-wheel drive: “It’s still got four wheels and an engine, so I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
Besides, lining up against some of the touring car legends is an examination the newcomer is relishing.
“You’ve got drivers such as Jason Plato and Matt Neal who are going to give you zero respect, but the challenge is to compete against them and earn their respect,” he said.
Frank has now been racing karts and cars for 15 years out of his Strickens Lane base with the invaluable backing of his father, Frank Wrathall Snr, a former European and British sidecar champion.
It’s for his father’s input that Frank reserves his most heartfelt praise.
“He’s the reason for our success – without a doubt. If I was on my own, I wouldn’t even be racing, let alone looking at my first season in British Touring Cars,” says Frank.
There have been setbacks, too. The Ginetta champion recalls a time when, after failing to qualify for the British kart championship, “we considered quitting altogether.” Although “it makes you stronger,” he added.
One of the, continuous pressures Frank and his team cope with is sourcing the funds to maintain a modern race car. He says: “The financial outlay in motorsport is the biggest challenge. Without the backing, we can’t go racing.”
l You can watch a video of Frank racing by logging on to the website www.frankwrathall.co.uk