Independent Toyota trio Frank Wrathall, Adam Morgan and Tony Hughes restart their 2012 British Touring Car Championship campaign this weekend at Oulton Park.
For all three drivers’ and their teams’, the trip to the Cheshire circuit marks their home race weekend and they will all be racing in front of their friends, family and sponsors.
Wrathall, who arrives at Oulton Park tenth in the overall drivers’ Championship, believes that racing at home brings an extra pressure.
“There is extra pressure, of course: you always want to do well in front of your local crowd,” explains the #11 Avensis driver. “It’s one of the most important races of the year. We didn’t have a great weekend at Oulton last year, but that was more to do with the Toyota being in its early stages of development. Another factor is that Oulton Park is the only major circuit in the UK where I have not won a race, and I want to change that…”
Thruxton saw the 25yr old Garstang based driver secure his first podium finish of the 2012 campaign during the final race of the day. His podium finish topped off a consistent day in the pouring rain, as he finished fifth and fourth earlier in the day.
“We had a great day; it was productive and we covered a lot of laps and the weather was great,” added Wrathall, who had tested the Avensis at the Welsh circuit, Anglesey. “We achieved everything we set out to do, which is quite hard to do at a test – you tend to set out with a number of objectives and get only half-way through the list. But we went through everything and couldn’t have asked for much more; it was pretty much perfect.”
BTCC rookie Morgan heads to Oulton Park looking to replicate his Donington Park results, where he scored his first BTCC points finish. Thruxton offered Morgan the chance to score more points but problems in the races ruined his day.
“Oulton has been good for me,” added the 2011 Ginetta GT Supercup Champion. “It’s my local track, and I know it reasonably well. I have not scored my best results there but I do enjoy driving it; it’s a great driver’s track. All my family will be there, people from work, friends and rugby club mates. It will be a busy day… I am going in with an open mind and will give it my best.”
Since Thruxton, the ‘spec’ NGTC engine from the #33 Speedworks Motorsport Avensis has been rebuilt and the team will head to Brands Hatch tomorrow to check everything and put the car through its paces.
“We wanted to test at a track for which we have data, and to check things over after Thruxton to make sure everything is all right,” added Morgan, 23.
The third Toyota driver, Tony Hughes, has been busy promoting the Oulton Park event and he is pleased to be heading back to the Cheshire circuit.
“I’m buzzing about being back at Oulton for the next rounds of the championship,” added Hughes, who spent last weekend signing Autographs alongside one of the Speedworks Avensis at the Peel shopping centre in Stockport.
“It is a fantastic circuit to have on my doorstep and it will be great having so many friends and family there to see the British Touring Car Championship up close.”