Jason Plato has revealed that he is working on “a couple of programmes” for the forthcoming season, adding that he has not yet done a deal to be represented on the British Touring Car Championship grid.
Plato finished as the runner-up in the 2014 BTCC, concluding a three-year deal with MG and Triple Eight which saw the former champion score 20 wins and finish inside the top three in all three seasons.
The 47-year-old took to the main stage at the Autosport International show at the NEC in Birmingham, revealing that he does not yet have a deal in place for the forthcoming season.
“Unless some money’s in the bank, we’re not talking about it,” said Plato. “But we’re working on it. We’ve got a couple of very interesting programmes and I would imagine in the next three weeks we’ll choose the direction we want to go in.”
Reminiscing on his tenure at Triple Eight – the second of his career – Plato says he is satisfied with his results, which put him as the most successful driver of the NGTC era to-date.
“I look back on those three years and I’m pretty satisfied,” said Plato. “We fell short in year two, and we should have won the championship. We, and I count myself in this, made too many mistakes as a team and we should have won.
“But the most important thing is to be competitive. We didn’t really start properly building the cars until six weeks before the first race.”
Plato hinted that he is continuing to put a commercial deal together and is excited by the prospect of a new challenge in the forthcoming season.
“There are times in life when you need a new challenge and I’m excited about might be happening in 2015,” continued Plato. “As a driver that was involved from the very early stages piecing that [MG] deal together, seeing the results we had and the effort which went into the team, to get ourselves in a position when we were winning races on a regular basis was really very rewarding.
“Sometimes you can’t win championships all the while. Is it all about winning championships? Actually no it’s not, it’s all about winning races and being competitive. Sometimes the planets align and you win the championship, other times they don’t. More often than not they don’t. The more important thing is that every time you come out of the box you’re competitive and everybody works as hard as they can.
“This time at the moment is a very interesting time. Fortunately for me it comes around in three year cycles. Most other drivers tend to have this issue every year, and that’s putting together a new deal. I love that – I love the pressure of trying to piece all the commercials and the marketing all together.”
Plato also revealed some of the changes he’d like to see introduced into the BTCC in the future, including endurance races and pit stops, provided costs could be kept under control.
“Firstly we’d like one or two endurance races a year, maybe a two-driver race or even a longer race like they used to do in the old days with a pit stop. I’d certainly like to bring pit stops back – not for all the races but maybe for one race a weekend or three races over the course of the year at circuits like Silverstone where they have big enough pits and everyone’s got enough space to do a good pit stop. Of course that has an impact on the budgets and I believe we’ve got to have it at the forefront of our mind that we mustn’t let it get out of shape. It doesn’t sound like it might be very much but that can add £200,000 to £300,000 to the bill. So you’ve got to balance that out.
“I’d also like it to be like they have in America where they have a blue-riband, big pay day event. It would be fantastic. First place a million quid, second place an ice cream. That would capture people’s imaginations.”