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Jason Plato reveals premise of Subaru idea was formed at MG

After debuting their new Subaru Levorg Sports Tourer at the official Season Launch for the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Jason Plato has revealed to that the premise behind the idea to bring the Japanese manufacturer into the UK’s premier motorsport series was first formed during his early days at MG KX Momentum Racing.

Plato, who was present at Donington Park alongside both his new machinery and his team-mates Colin Turkington, Warren Scott and James Cole, explained that during the formative period for the NGTC regulations, both he and long-term engineering counterpart Carl Faux went searching for the eptiome of the perfect car to suit the regulations.

“Me and Carlos [Faux], after three or four months of the MG programme in 2012 when these NGTC regulations came in, after we got a few miles on it and understood how these cars worked we realised we were very heavily compromised, because we couldn’t engineer problems out of the car.” he recalled.

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“We looked at the potential development curve with what we had, and it was a bit disappointing to be honest. We were all in the same boat, with every other team, it’s not a nice place to be. One night, we [Plato and Faux] were down at the boozer, having a few pints and kicking ideas around – ‘what would be the holy grail? If you had a blank piece of paper, what product would you go for?’ – we did a bit of research and it was a Subaru.”

Last year saw Plato move alongside his 2014 title protagonist Colin Turkington to Team BMR, where the two contributed alongside a new engineering lineup to revolutionise the two-time race winners into quadruple champions last term.

Plato also revealed, however, that the important thing when moving to Team BMR was to create an atmosphere and environment in which both he and Faux could continue their plan, and paid tribute to Team Principal Warren Scott for facilitating the two’s creative influences.

“Carlos went away and did some initial calculations on engine size, where it might sit, weight distribution and could it work, could it not? And within two weeks we had the answer. And then we realised “shit, we’ve just got to hope that nobody else thinks of this’. And then, of course, the MG deal comes to an end, I needed to move to a different outfit and the plan was always, in the back of my mind, to make this happen for 2016.” commented Plato.

“I needed to do a year with a team to see how it operates – fortunately Warren [Scott] let me employ certain members of staff and the plan was to get ourselves ready for something like this.”

The Levorg was first released two years ago, but despite the project in principle seeming to be something of a slow burner, if Plato’s timescale on the project is to be believed, the double champion insists that both he and Faux were very thorough in their plans and believes the package is as exciting a prospect as his very first campaign with the works Williams team back in 1997.

“It wasn’t just in the back of my mind, we’d done some numbers and calculations, we just needed to bide our time, find a home we trust – we’ve got that. We’ve got a brilliant team of people but what they’ve managed to do, Carlos and his design team, is really something else. I’ve not been as excited about a technical package in my career. The last time I was as excited about a new program was the first time I got my Williams break.” he enthused.

“And that’s for many reasons; one – we believe it is going to be competitive. But also we’re working with a massively iconic brand that has an incredible heritage in motorsport, albeit in rallying. Impreza, whilst it’s still there, Levorg has come and it is their future. It’s just the perfect storm, the planets have aligned, we’ve got the product that we want, Subaru want to promote this new car and we’re very honoured to be entrusted to do it.”

The team now expect to complete some shakedown running of the new cars before all four are finished and sent to Brands Hatch for the opening three rounds of the new season over the first weekend of April.

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