Frank Sytner

Thursday 29th June 1944

Born on this day, Frank Sytner, British racing driver, a Life Member of the BRDC. He won the 1988 British Touring Car Champion driving a BMW M3.

He started racing in the early 1970s in Formula Ford and later became known for racing in the Clubmans formula for front-engined sports cars, before moving into Touring Cars in the 1980s. As a successful BMW dealer[2] with a chain of dealerships it was natural that he should gravitate towards their products, however he started his BTCC career driving for Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR team, which was running the Rover SD1 Vitesse. However, Sytner and Walkinshaw fell out and Frank abruptly left the team halfway through his first season.[3] Sytner joined the BMW team, fielding the 635 model run by Ted Grace Racing. It was Sytner who protested the legality of the TWR Rovers in 1983, an action which eventually cost Steve Soper the championship that season. Sytner entered a semi-works BMW 635 in 1984, running under the Sytner Racing banner and finished second in class to Andy Rouse.

Sytner took a year out in 1986, but returned in 1987, having joined Prodrive who had taken over the factory BMW contract, running the BMW M3. Success was immediate, with several wins, before taking the BTCC title outright in 1988. Sytner won his class, the new look 2.0 litre super touring formula, and came second overall in 1990, despite strong competition from 1989 champion John Cleland in the works Vauxhall Cavalier. The two even had a controversial collision at the Birmingham Superprix late in the season. Sytner’s final season was 1991, which saw him retire from the sport at the end of the year to concentrate on his car dealership.

He moved into historic car racing in the 1990s, in both sports cars and historic Formula One cars – he is particularly known these days for his exploits in a Penske.

Frank is nicknamed Fearless for his uncompromising style on track.

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