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2012 BTCC Toyota unveiled

The brand new Toyota Avensis, which Frank Wrathall, Tony Hughes and Adam Morgan will use in the 2012 Dunliop MSA British Touring Car Championship was unveiled to the media during the series traditional Media Day, which was held at Silverstone yesterday, 19 March.

The Avensis, which made its debut in the 2011 season as one of the first full NGTC BTCC cars features a restyled and re-engineered front end and compared to the 2011 car, looks completely different. This has allowed the Dynojet and Speedworks Motorsport teams to have a fresh look at how the 2 litre Turbocharged engine is installed as well as cooling, and it has also enabled the teams to look at chassis stiffness.

Wrathall, who proved to be one of the stars during the second half of the 2011 campaign, taking four outright podiums, including the first podium for an NGTC car at Knockhill, believes that the development work undertaken during the off season at the teams Lancashire base will make all the difference as he heads into 2012. His efforts in 2011 saw him offered Superstar status for 2012 by the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

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The developments we have made will allow us to move on to the next level,” said the 25-year-old from Garstang, last season’s Rookie of the Year. “The installation of the engine is better, the cooling is better and all around the car we have made improvements based on what we learned during our first year.

“I hope it will mean that we can be regularly fighting for the podium. That is my aim, but of course the opposition will be strong and everyone else will be out to do the same thing.”

Wrathall will get his first taste of the 2012 spec Avensis and the X CTech R-Developed 2.0litre turbocharged engine next week, before the season opener at Brands Hatch, Kent, over the 31 March/1 April.

Making the step up into the BTCC at the wheel of a Speedworks Toyota Avensis is 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup Champion, Adam Morgan. The twenty-three year old secured the richest prize in British Motorsport by securing the Ginetta GT Supercup title, worth over £200,000.

The #33 Avensis is a completely new chassis which has come fresh from the Speedworks Motorsport workshop in Stockport, and it had its first few laps at Media Day. Having never experienced a front wheel drive racer before, Morgan has been able to borrow his team-mates car to get some practice in.

“I have had three good days of testing,” says Adam, “working with the engineer and trying different set-ups, and it has all gone pretty well.

“I have been getting used to the feel, the need to warm up the tyres, which is crucial, and the way the car is set up, particularly at the rear. I struggled a bit at first but the more miles I have covered the more used to it I have become. Now I just can’t wait to get out there and race.”

Also returning for his second season at the wheel of the Swindon Engines-powered Avensis is Tony Hughes, who is looking forward to the forthcoming campaign despite losing time inside the car to allow Morgan the chance to get some miles under his belt.

“By the beginning of the season I should have had about five days of testing,” said the 54-year-old from Alderley Edge, Cheshire. “It has all helped immensely and we are able now to put together all the pieces of the puzzle, and I think the car will work well this year. My target is to try to finish as many races as possible and to try to get a top-10 finish – that would be like a win for me.”

Brands Hatch Indy circuit plays host to the opening three races of the season over the 31 March/1 April, before trips to Donington Park, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft, Snetterton 300, Knockhill, Rockingham, Silverstone and the season finale on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit over the 20/21 October.

Wrathall, Morgan and Hughes are just three of twenty-four drivers expected to be on the grid at Brands Hatch, which will be televised on ITV4, ITV4 HD and

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