Frank looks ahead to ‘home fixture’

Frank Wrathall in action
Frank Wrathall in action

There may have been a month’s pause in the hectic race schedule of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, but there has been little respite for the Dynojet Racing team as it prepares for Sunday’s (June 5) ‘home match’ at Oulton Park.

Garstang-based Dynojet has performed a major rebuild on Frank Wrathall’s Avensis BTCC car since its last outing, and team members are hoping that the fruits of their labours will result in reliable and consistent outings at Oulton, the venue for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 30-race series.

There have been major revisions to the steering system, as well as detailed works to the chassis set-up aimed at improving handling, and engine enhancements to improve reliability.

“Our priority now is reliability,” said 24-year-old Wrathall, from Catterall. “We need to get some race finishes under our belt, and we have been doing a lot of dyno testing with the engine to try to trace the problems which afflicted us at Thruxton last month. Hopefully at Oulton Park, we can pace ourselves and put in a solid showing.

“We have done a tremendous amount to the Toyota since Thruxton; in fact, it’s been like building a whole new car again.”

There’s a further problem facing Frank this weekend – Oulton has been a bit of a ‘bogey’ circuit for him, despite it being his closest. “I drove my first racing car here,” he says, “and I was in the barriers within four laps. Then my first-ever car race was at Oulton, in 2007. I qualified OK, 12th out of 40, I think, but then it rained just before the start, and I came around the second corner in my Ginetta G20 to find a car spinning across the track, and I went straight into it.”

Ironically, the pilot of the rotating Ginetta was Christian Dick, the man who now directs the Speedworks team and the other BTCC Toyota Avensis, driven by Tony Hughes.

“It’s the circuit where I feel the most pressure on me. It’s my local circuit and a lot of people come to watch and support me, and I just always seem to have bad luck there. The track itself I like, it’s just those other factors that make me dread it.”

Last year, however, Wrathall raced to a brace of second-place finishes at Oulton in his Ginetta G50, and he’s very much hoping that that will have spelled the end of his home-track bad luck.

Oulton Park traditionally attracts one of the biggest crowds of the BTCC season. Practice sessions and qualifying are scheduled for Saturday, with qualifying streamed live on the itv.com website. Sunday’s trio of races will be screened live on ITV4.

The Dynojet Racing team enjoys the backing of Angel Springs, FUCHS Lubricants, Ginetta, K&N Filters, Arai Helmets, Graphix and Doodson Broking Group.