Toyota’s trio of independent racers will bring their BTCC seasons to a close at Brands Hatch this weekend, each hopeful of ending the year on a high note.
Frank Wrathall goes into battle for the Dynojet Racing team looking to re-establish himself in the top 10 overall in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, and to hoping to maintain his superb qualifying record, while Speedworks Motorsport pairing Adam Morgan and Tony Hughes are both hopeful of improving their personal-best results.
Wrathall endured a frustrating weekend at Silverstone earlier this month: though quick again in qualifying his Avensis was unable to stay on terms with its rivals on the power-sapping long straights of the British Grand Prix circuit.
The Brands Hatch GP track layout should suit the Toyota, he believes: “I don’t think the speed differential will make as much difference at Brands, and we have one or two ideas up our sleeves that we hope will help… The Grand Prix circuit at Brands Hatch is absolutely mega – definitely one of the best to drive because of all the fast, flowing corners which in my opinion are the nicest to drive.”
Wrathall qualified third on the grid last time – his fifth time in the top five from nine meetings – and goes into Brands looking to cement his position as one of the BTCC’s top-three qualifiers of the season. Frank has twice won the Independents trophy in 2012 thanks to his podium finishes at Thruxton and Snetterton, and heads to Brands Hatch 12th overall in the driver title race, eighth among the independents.
For all three Toyota drivers, the Grand Prix circuit will be a big challenge, not least because none has had the chance to test on it. Though they raced at Brands in April, that was on the short Indy circuit: “It’s going to be tough,” added Wrathall, “because I have not driven the full circuit for a year. But it’s the same for everyone…”
Adam Morgan turns 24 a week after Brands Hatch brings down the curtain on his rookie BTCC season – he’s hoping for a further improvement in his finishing record. “I was tenth at Knockhill, ninth at Rockingham and eighth at Silverstone last time,” said Ginetta Scholarship driver Morgan. “I’d like to end the year steadily improving that record…”
Tony Hughes has become a regular scorer this season in his Hughes Safety Showers-backed Toyota, claiming points at three of his last four BTCC meetings to help Speedworks Motorsport rise to fifth place overall in the Independent Teams Trophy.
Saturday’s Brands Hatch qualifying session will be streamed live on itv.com/btcc from 1530 with all three of Sunday’s races, the first of which is due off at 1130, live via the web and on television, in HD on ITV4.