Friday, 6 March 2015

'I am confident BMR will become a BTCC powerhouse' - Jason Plato looks ahead to the new season

British Touring Car Championship legend Jason Plato caused quite a stir recently when it was announced that he would be joining Team BMR for the upcoming BTCC season.

Leaving the MG team after a three year stint which yielded 20 wins and three consecutive top-three championship results, the two-time BTCC champion elected to switch to the young BMR squad this year. Now part of what some are labelling a 'superteam', Plato will line up alongside race winner Aron Smith, reigning champion Colin Turkington and team owner Warren Scott in the team's fleet of Volkswagen Passat CCs.

"I was attracted by the commitment and ambition of team owner Warren Scott and the potential of the team if his big plan could be put together," Plato said. "That big plan in the large part is in place. Its an exciting project to be involved with."

Before signing for BMR though, there was some worry amongst fans that Plato might be forced to take a year out. That idea, however, never crossed the mind of the 88-time race winner, who revealed that the BMR deal, although only recently announced, had been in the pipeline for a long time.

"I always maintain a positive outlook in every aspect of my life and I always try and stay ahead of the curve," he said. "The BMR deal is 7 months already in play."

As well as the acquisition of two double champions in Plato and Turkington, the team has also signed the pair's race engineers with Carl Faux and Kevin Berry moving over from MG and WSR respectively.

"Motorsport is a people business, get the rights ones together and great things can happen, I believe the combination of the new recruits in both the technical and driving departments will prove successful," added Plato. "Its time for team BMR to go to the next step and that is why four key people have been recruited."

Team BMR have since commenced an intense winter testing program which has seen the team visit Thruxton, Snetterton and Oulton Park, with the official season and launch and test at Donington Park at the end of the month still to come.All four of the team's drivers have been in action behind the wheel of the Passat CCs, including Plato.

Moving from smaller cars such as the MG6GT and the Chevrolet Cruze, it'd be easy to think that the large Passat CC would leave Plato at a disadvantage, something which he insists is not the case - saying "size isn't everything". In fact, Plato will once again be aiming for top spot when the season starts in April.

"I only go racing to win and 2015 is no different," he adds. "I want pole and wins at Brands Hatch in April."

"Its early days yet and we have a tremendous amount of work to do, but I am confident BMR will sooner rather than later, become a BTCC power house"

 

 

Full Jason Plato interview



Dominik Wilde: It was quite a surprise to many when you were announced as a driver for Team BMR, what attracted you to the young team?

Jason Plato: I was attracted by the commitment and ambition of team owner Warren Scott and the potential of the team if his big plan could be put together. That big plan in the large part is in place. Its an exciting project to be involved with.


Dominik Wilde: Some fans were worried that you might be back in the BTCC after you left MG. Was that ever on the cards or had the BMR deal been worked out for a long time 'behind the scenes'?

Jason Plato: I always maintain a positive outlook in every aspect of my life and I always try and stay ahead of the curve. The BMR deal is 7 months already in play.


Dominik Wilde: With regards to the BMR driver lineup for this season, the word 'superteam' has been mentioned because of the three race winners in Turkington, Smith and yourself behind the wheel. What kind of benefits does having driver lineup like BMR's bring?

Jason Plato: Motorsport is a people business, get the rights ones together and great things can happen, I believe the combination of the new recruits in both the technical and driving departments will prove successful. Its time for team BMR to go to the next step and that is why four key people have been recruited.


Dominik Wilde: You've had a couple of tests with Team BMR now, what are your impressions of the team? What are they like to work with?

Jason Plato: Its early days yet and we have a tremendous amount of work to do, but I am confident BMR will sooner rather than later, become a BTCC power house.


Dominik Wilde: At what about the car? It's not a car you've raced before but you've had some seat time in it now, what are your early observations of the VW Passat CC?

Jason Plato: A car is a car, one of the reasons for the high profile appointments is the skills that will be brought.


Dominik Wilde: I certainly looks like it's a bigger car to the likes of the MG, Cruze, Lacetti or Seat you've driven in recent years. Do you have to change your approach when behind the wheel of the bigger car?

Jason Plato: I can think of many times the following quote is used and it rings true in motorsport too... “Size isn’t everything!"


Dominik Wilde: After your initial tests with the new team and car, have you set yourself any goals or expectations for the upcoming season?

Jason Plato: I only go racing to win and 2015 is no different, I want pole and wins at Brands Hatch in April.








All images: Dominik Wilde






1 comment: