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 Toyota’s independent teams as they prepare for Sunday’s (5 June) ‘home match’ at Oulton Park.
Both Cheshire-based Speedworks Motorsport and Lancashire team Dynojet Racing have performed major rebuilds on their Avensis BTCC cars since their last outings, and both squads are hoping that the fruits of their labours will result in reliable and consistent outings at their home circuit of Oulton, the venue for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 30-race series.
There have been major revisions to the steering systems of the cars, both of which were introduced to racing only at the beginning of April, as well as detailed works to the chassis set-up aimed at improving handling. Frank Wrathall’s Dynojet Racing Toyota has also undergone engine enhancements to improve reliability.
“Our priority now is reliability,” said 24-year-old Frank. “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.”
In addition to all the hard work in the Dynojet Racing workshops near Garstang, Wrathall has been hard at work generating publicity and interest locally ahead of the Oulton weekend. Among his exploits was a touchline appearance, complete with the BTCC Avensis, at the Deepdale stadium for the final home match of Preston North End’s season.
Oulton Park is a home-circuit event also for Stockport driver Tony Hughes, pilot of the Speedworks Motorsport Avensis, and also a welcome return to the BTCC after he missed the Thruxton races following accident damage sustained at the mid-April Donington Park rounds.
Like Wrathall, Hughes has been hard on the promotional trail with his Toyota, which was exhibited at the Safety & Health Expo at Birmingham’s NEC on the Hughes Safety Showers stand.
Tony, managing director of Hughes Safety Showers, said: “The exhibition was a great opportunity to discuss requirements with our key customers in the health and safety industry. Having the Toyota on stand was something new which generated interest in the products that we manufacture. With Oulton Park on the horizon, Speedworks are working hard to have everything prepared as the BTCC moves up north.”
Oulton Park traditionally attracts one of the biggest crowds of the BTCC season. Practice sessions and qualifying are scheduled for Saturday (4 June), with qualifying streamed live on the itv.com website. Sunday’s trio of races will be screened live in HD quality on ITV4.