Interview : Plato: Reliability and wet weather pace key for 2013 BTCC
Fri 22nd March 2013 Jason Plato spends a second year with the MG KX Momentum Racing team in 2013. The double BTCC champion is clear on what needs to happen if he's to be in with a shot at the title this time around.
By Matt Lamprell
"We had a really good 2012", says Plato. "Whilst we're always here to win, I was genuinely chuffed with third. I know it could have been better, had we not had some of the mechanical problems that we did."
The MG GT6 GT was built by Triple Eight Race Engineering ahead of the 2012 season. The deal was so late coming together that much of the development work had to be done by Plato at race weekends.
We produced a car that really very quick from mid-season on in the dry. Our Achilles heel was the wet, but we’ve got a good idea why that is now.
In a season that had more than its fair share of wet races, it was a problem that cost Plato and the MG team heavily as the year went on.
Plato explained, "One of the difficult things with these NGTC cars is that they're very difficult to work on. It takes a long time to make changes to the car. We had the car set up as a dry car most of the time and when it rains, it’s a three-hour job to change it.
"We really don't have that luxury most of the time, so we need to change the setup a bit to make the car more adaptable. We’re making improvements. It's definitely going in the right direction.
"We need to be better in the wet and we need better reliability."
If wet weather form was one reason for Plato's 2012 title challenge faltering, unfortunate mechanical failures was another. His MG was wheeled off the grid from pole position at Oulton Park last year and he also retired from the lead at Silverstone.
"Many of the problems we had last year were from supplied components. If we had a free rein, we wouldn't use that sort of component, but because we have to use it, we have to use it. It was that stuff that went wrong. Cruelly, it went wrong for us when we were either sat on pole or guaranteed a podium, if not wins in many cases."
Plato's clear on his two main challenges for 2013, but where does he see the main rivalry coming from on the track?
"It's going to be a very competitive year. Honda will have improved over the winter. We've got the new BMWs with WSR and the eBay team. We've also got the Ford Focuses with Motorbase and there’s a whole host of other cars. It's going to be competitive, but I'd be surprised if it's not the usual suspects knocking lumps out of each other on raceday."