Frank Wrathall has officially confirmed his plans for the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The 26-year-old from Lancashire made the announcement, which was pretty much a formality, today at a launch event for sponsor Mac Tools and after clinching final-round victory with his Dynojet Racing team-run Toyota Avensis at Brands Hatch in October he believes further strong results are within his reach.
Indeed he can't wait to go into battle in the opening rounds of the championship at Brands Hatch on Easter Sunday.
“We are in good shape - better than we have ever started a season before. In 2011 and 2012 our car was not ready for the first races, and we fumbled our way through them with nothing to show for it,” he stated.
“This season we are ready to go with the Toyota; the chassis is really good, and was really quick on quite a lot of occasions last year, and we have not spent the winter trying to reinvent the wheel or to be too clever. We have made a few refinements here and there, which have tested well, and hopefully we will have a much better start to the championship.”
Team stability is another positive for Dynojet Racing as Charles Hodge continues into his second season as Wrathall's race engineer, while Frank Wrathall Senior remains as team boss.
“Charles and I have a great relationship,” Frank Jr continued, “and I'm made up that he's on board for another year. Having a new engineer would have meant a transitional period and it takes a little time for the team and driver to get a really good understanding. Charles staying with us means more continuity and, hopefully, more success.”
Winning the final round of the BTCC in 2012, and with it netting championship 10th, changed everything for Wrathall and the team.
“It was huge for us, absolutely massive,” he explained. “Even though we had the pole at Snetterton and a couple of podiums, up to that point it hadn't been a great year and we were outside the top 10 in the championship. We had good pace in qualifying but for one reason or another it just didn't happen for us in the races. Winning that race changed absolutely everything; it meant so much to everyone. For myself, I've had a BTCC pole, podiums and now a win. I've ticked quite a few boxes and achieved a lot already in the championship.
“Probably it has taken a lot of the pressure off. If this year we can show the same pace as we did in 2012, qualifying regularly inside the top five, then hopefully we can be more consistent and transform that pace into better race results.
“I've always said that every year I want to progress and not stand still, and so far I think I've achieved that. The aim is to finish further inside the top 10 of the championship. I don't think the independents championship is necessarily beyond reach, but it would be a huge task. With the experience that we have with the Avensis, the engine, among ourselves as a team, I hope that we can more consistently finish inside the top 10, and that will put us somewhere closer towards the top of the independents class.”