Interview : Jason Plato It's all to play for
Wed 28th March 2012 Jason Plato will contest a ninth consecutive BTCC season in 2012, joining the MG Momentum KX Racing team. We get his views on the challenging year ahead.
By Matt Lamprell
MG is the third different manufacturer that Plato has driven for during this time (and the fifth manufacturer of his BTCC career), but this year may just provide the two-time champion with his toughest challenge yet.
The NGTC-specification MG6 GT, built by Ian Harrison's Triple Eight Race Engineering outfit, rolled out of the garage at the Silverstone media day, but it wasn't track-ready.
Brands Hatch this weekend could be a tough experience for Plato and his MG teammate Andy Neate. Every lap on track will bring valuable additional information about the car, its behaviour and its strengths and weaknesses.
Lack of track time doesn't scare Plato though.
"If I think back to 2004, in my first year with SEAT, we were in a very similar situation", said Plato. "We won the third race. That was the third race at our first meeting.
"This is a really exciting project we're involved in. We've got some great people a great team, some great sponsors and we're in a great championship."
MG's entry into the BTCC was announced back in January just over two months before the start of the 2012 season. While Triple Eight had started work by that point, it was a tough schedule from the outset, as Plato explains.
"If I look back to the end of last year, with the potential deal we had, it would have been very difficult to place that deal with someone who didnt give me confidence. Triple Eight was really the only team that could pull off what I believed we needed to pull off in such a short period of time.
"We're a little bit behind the game in terms of time, but if anyone can pull the stops out and get us up there, it's this team. They've done an amazing job. The car looks great and the level of detail in the engineering is second to none."
2012 is the second year of transition to the BTCC's new NGTC regulations. It sees many of the top teams switch to cars built to these regulations. It seems inevitable that NGTC cars will win races this year. Whether or not the 2012 BTCC champion is driving an NGTC car may just depend on how quickly Plato and co. can get to grips with their new machines.
"It's all to play for", added Plato. "Everybody at the team, as well as myself and Andy [Neate] is up for the challenge. It's not going to be easy, but then it wouldn't be any fun if it were easy."