Jason Plato Q&A

Works Vauxhall BTCC driver Jason Plato talks to Nick Phillips about new race formats, the new BTCT cars and his future after claiming pole position for Monday's sprint race at Thruxton

Jason Plato Q&A



"Yeah. I think it will be excellent. It's a good format, I think it will be a lot of fun. I just hope they've got the numbers right. I mean I don't think any of us will be that bothered to be honest if we don't win outright, because we've got our own race going on and what's important is to win that. But, of course we're going to be trying to win, so, if they've got it right, the last two laps should be pretty exciting. And, I think to be on pole for that is going to help."



"Oh, I think it's a skill thing. Definitely. If I look ahead and say see a car at Goodwood, it's going to be to my advantage to ease off a little bit, so that I don't actually catch them in the corner, so there's going to be a bit of tactical play going on. It's going to help being at the front and if I play the traffic right I can use that to my advantage and that's obviously what I'm going to try to do.



"Yeah. At the end of the day we have to appreciate that motorsport in the year 2001 is a spectacle and we need to accommodate the spectators. The sprint format race at Brands Hatch, if I'm completely honest, I thought probably would have been boring to watch so we needed to address that. The other thing is that why when we've got the production class here, can't we race with them? I don't think that ultimately they are meddling with the final results, they're not making it into a circus and it certainly makes our job more interesting and perhaps a bit more difficult."



"Yeah to be honest I'm surprised at quite how good they are at Thruxton, considering we've got no downforce. The cars are seeing something in the region of 212kph [131mph] minimum speed in Church, which is quite impressive, that's probably only down 9kph on a super touring car. They're pretty good and they move about more, so for that reason they're perhaps a bit more enjoyable to drive. And to have this performance for so little budget has got to be good for the longevity of the championship."



"The race at Brands was excellent. Certainly with the old super tourers you couldn't really get close because you'd lose downforce, if cars were equal, though with a better engine you could. Now we haven't got any downforce it's easier. We went nearly a whole lap side by side at Brands and you would never have seen that in the old days."



"Relatively it is longer. I'm kind of braking at the same point that I did, but we're going slower. It is also easier to make a mistake. At a corner like Club here you are relying very much on the diff' technology and that's no longer so sophisticated, so it's very easy to make a small mistake which then turns into a big one pretty quickly, whereas the old cars were so clever they would mask a small mistake and cover it up."



"It's always a place where you see action, but I think we will really see quite a bit over the two races on Monday."



"Much as I would love to, I don't think I am. There are some pretty handy guys in the team and it would be foolish of me to say I'm much better than these guys, because it simply isn't the case - they are world class drivers. It's going to be hard as we've seen in qualifying today - there were only a couple of tenths between all four of us [Vauxhall drivers]. I'm aiming to win the championship, but it's going to be a real close thing between me Jimmy [Thompson] and Yvan [Muller]."



"I don't know. It all depends on desire. If Vauxhall want me, then certainly I'd love to talk to them [Plato's Vauxhall contract runs to the end of this year]. My long-term goals are: A to win the BTCC and B I am desperate to get to NASCAR. If my association with General Motors can help that, then I'd like to pursue that, but I'm not ruling out a return to the BTCC that's for sure."

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Qualifying: Pole apiece for Plato and Thompson
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Sprint race: Plato beats Muller in Vauxhall scrap

Sprint race: Plato beats Muller in Vauxhall scrap
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