Plato back on track after one-year absence

British Touring Car Championship wins record holder Jason Plato says everything “came flooding back” on his first outing behind the wheel of a BTCC car for 53 weeks.

Plato back on track after one-year absence

Plato tested his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra at Donington Park on Tuesday as he gears up for his return to the BTCC in 2021.

It was his first time in the car since the official test at Silverstone in March 2020, just before the UK’s first lockdown started.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Plato and PMR elected to pause their commercial contracts because they would not be able to entertain guests at races, and defer them to 2021.

“I loved it, and it was great getting back into it,” said the 53-year-old two-time BTCC champion of getting back in the saddle at Donington.

“We planned to do about 30 or 40 minutes at the start just to go round and blow the cobwebs off, but within six laps I was on the numbers and it came flooding back.”

While Plato was in one PMR Astra, new team-mate Dan Lloyd was in the other.

Power Maxed Racing garage atmosphere

Power Maxed Racing garage atmosphere

Photo by: Power Maxed Racing

Lloyd, a one-time BTCC race winner, has never completed a full season in the series, but as a youngster in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB he was part of Plato’s KX Akademy talent scheme.

“A lot of the day was geared around giving Dan an idea of what I found worked and what didn’t in 2019, and to try and calibrate what he likes in the car,” Plato told Autosport.

“Hopefully he’ll like what I like, and won’t like what I don’t like.

“Dan’s won races [in BTCC and TCR Europe], he knows how to do it, and I’m sure we’ll get on great.

“With any luck he’ll be a pain in the arse, and that will make me sharpen my pencil a bit!”

Plato, who won the final race of the 2019 season in the Astra, added: “You’re only as good as your last race, and on that basis I’m looking quite good, aren’t I?

“We did actually find something during the day at Donington which was quite interesting, and which produced an easier car to drive and get time out of, and was faster.

“We’ve still got a few development parts to try [starting with the next test at Croft in a couple of weeks’ time], evolutions of things, but we’ve got a good baseline set-up.

“We’ve already made some improvements to the cooling package, which will yield some more power and torque.

“So I know what’s in my toolbox and what spanners to get out and use.”

Read Also:

Plato also said he was sorry not to be able to renew his rivalry this season with Matt Neal, with whom he had a sometimes bitter relationship and who is taking a sabbatical from driving in 2021.

“I spoke to Matt just before the news came out, and in all honesty I’m really sad,” said Plato.

“He’s got a lot to offer, he’s not slow, he’s not past it, and I was relishing locking horns with him.

“But I must admit, the last few years we’ve not really been on the same bit of Tarmac together, so we’ve not locked horns.

“So I was looking forward to getting under his skin and upsetting him, and I’m sure vice versa.”

shares
comments
Hamilton takes final Hard Cupra seat, completing 2021 BTCC grid

Previous article

Hamilton takes final Hard Cupra seat, completing 2021 BTCC grid

Next article

Butcher confident after first Toyota BTCC test

Butcher confident after first Toyota BTCC test
Load comments

About this article

Series BTCC
Author Marcus Simmons
The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years Plus

The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years

It’s four decades since one of UK motorsport’s most successful teams made its debut at Silverstone in British Formula 3. Now it’s top dog in the BTCC, time to blow out some candles with boss Dick Bennetts

BTCC
Mar 12, 2021
Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return Plus

Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return

OPINION: The British Touring Car Championship Lord taketh away Dan Cammish, then giveth Gordon Shedden. That means substituting what would have been a future champion with an all-time series great with a point to prove on his return

BTCC
Mar 11, 2021
The tin-top veteran turned policeman hangs up his helmet Plus

The tin-top veteran turned policeman hangs up his helmet

Jeff Allam had a long and successful touring car career, and was a highly regarded works driver for Rover and Vauxhall. Then he spent his weekends policing his successors… Time to look back at a BTCC life spanning almost 45 years

BTCC
Mar 10, 2021
The BTCC Brexit that's thrived for a decade Plus

The BTCC Brexit that's thrived for a decade

It won't be long until the current BTCC rules become the longest-lasting the series has ever had. The NGTC regulations are due to celebrate their tenth birthday this year and while not totally perfect for everyone, have been a huge success

BTCC
Feb 24, 2021
The top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Plus

The top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Plus

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020
The BMW game-changer that monopolised the tin-top world Plus

The BMW game-changer that monopolised the tin-top world

The rival Ford RS500 was more spectacular and almost claimed its place as Autosport's greatest touring car. But the original BMW M3 E30 was too good and too important to be ignored, as its drivers explain

BTCC
Dec 1, 2020
Turkington meets Rouse: The BTCC's greatest in conversation Plus

Turkington meets Rouse: The BTCC's greatest in conversation

The two four-time British Touring Car champions discovered they had far more in common than they realised when Autosport brought them together to discuss all things tin-top for its 70th anniversary special earlier this year

BTCC
Nov 25, 2020