Toyota’s home circuit of Donington Park, 10 miles from the birthplace of Avensis, is the venue this Sunday (15 April) for the next stop on the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship trail, and all three Toyota independents are hoping for strong results in front of some partisan supporters.
Frank Wrathall leads the Toyota trio into battle, and is hoping that a programme of testing work since his last outing at Brands Hatch will enable the Dynojet Racing team to claim some much needed top 10 race results.
“Before we head to Donington we are going back to Brands Hatch for what will hopefully be a good full day’s worth of testing,” said the Lancashire 25-year-old, who was the BTCC’s top rookie of 2011. “The plan is to get close to an ideal set-up for the Avensis, and then we should be able to get near the front at Donington. I want to qualify in the top 10 again, as I did at Brands Hatch, and then three top-10 race finishes are what we need - if we can do any better it will be a bonus. I’m feeling the pressure to go well because I know that a lot of people from Toyota’s Burnaston factory will be coming down.”
Speedworks Motorsport Avensis driver Adam Morgan says he will be happy just to get a race under his belt - the 23-year-old’s maiden BTCC outing lasted only a few hundred yards before his car was shoved off the circuit. “I have put Brands Hatch behind me and moved on,” said Adam, from Ribchester in Lancashire. “At Donington I want to build on the confidence I gained from my qualifying performance and hopefully get a bit further up the grid, out of the middle of the pack, and then try to stay out of trouble and get a finish.”
Morgan, whose BTCC campaign has been funded by British sportscar manufacturer Ginetta as a prize for his winning its top championship last season, likes Donington: “I have had some good results there in my Ginetta days, and it is quite a fast circuit, which I prefer. I have tested there in my team-mate’s Toyota and have had some tuition from my driver coach, Paul Taft, so I have a few different lines to try and that should make me a bit quicker.”
Toyota’s third man, Tony Hughes, was the only Avensis driver to finish all three Brands Hatch races and also scored his maiden championship point at the wheel of his Speedworks Motorsport-prepared machine. The Cheshire-based ace is hoping a fresh turbocharged power unit from the championship’s ‘stock’ engine supplier will make all the difference: “My engine at Brands Hatch was definitely down on power and they have taken it away to investigate. I like Donington, the Toyota is in good shape, and with more power I think I can go reasonably well and hopefully score a few more points.”
Sunday’s race action at Donington gets underway at 11.35; all three BTCC races will be shown live on ITV4 and itv.com