When AUTOSPORT got together with Jason Plato for a trip into his past - tracing his ancestors for a feature that ran in AUTOSPORT last month - nobody could have predicted that we would uncover a connection that resonates so spectacularly with his brand-new British Touring Car Championship programme with MG.
There was only the smallest of inklings of any Plato connection with Abingdon, the town that would become synonymous with MG production, and which is still home to the marque's Car Club. In fact, as we would discover, the MGCC's headquarters even overlook the cemetery where Jason's great-great-great grandfather Henry Plato has been resting since 1883!
Jason's father Tim grew up in nearby Oxford, and as a young adult in the 1960s he and his group of friends would often pile into a car and head down to Abingdon - frustrated that the pubs in their home city closed early due to a curfew imposed on university students by the dons.
One night, after emerging from an Abingdon boozer, Tim's eye was caught by the name 'HG Plato' on the town war memorial. The following day he asked his mother Elsie Plato (born Holmes) whether she knew if this fallen soldier was a relative, and she replied that he was, but that she didn't know the exact relationship.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.
Marcus Simmons is the deputy editor of Autosport magazine. As a child he was a regular on the chalk banks of Thruxton, before becoming an MSA timekeeper at the age of 17. Shortly afterwards, he started reporting for Motoring News and joined the staff in 1990.
After abandoning a parallel Formula First career – which had been as incident-packed as his childhood equestrian exploits – he moved to Autosport in 1996. Since then he has had two stints as a freelance and a brief spell as editor of Motor Sport magazine, during which the revered green cover was revived, before rejoining Autosport in 2008. He lives in Twickenham with his partner, two daughters, cat and guitars.