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Jason Plato cautious about Subaru reliability for Brands Hatch

Jason Plato believes that his brand-new Subaru Levorg Sports Tourer package will be competitive from the start of the new British Touring Car Championship season, but admits that reliability could still prove to be a grey area for Team BMR as they push forward towards Brands Hatch with minimal testing.

The new Levorg broke cover for the first time at the official Season Launch at Donington Park on 22nd March to a favourable reaction and has since completed some limited shakedown mileage before heading to Kent for the opening three rounds of the season at Brands Hatch Indy.

Gordon Shedden told during pre-season testing at Thruxton in mid-February that he believed an extensive testing programme would stand those aiming to get a better understanding of the new RML specification components in better stead. Plato, however, dismisses this view and believes that the car’s unique qualities make it unfair to draw comparisons between BMR and their rivals at this stage.

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He did also concede that, despite having argued against the advantages of a rear-wheel drive car, such as a better traction from a standing start, it is now ironic to consider him one of the biggest advocates for the drivetrain within the series.

“We’re different, we’ve got a completely different car to them.” responded Plato.

“We’re rear-wheel drive, so we’ll have an advantage off the starts, which is funny now. I’ve always been saying it is an advantage, and now I’m in one, I’m reinforcing it; It will be an advantage! And we’ve also got an engine configuration that nobody else in the world can run.”

Despite his confident attitude towards the new machinery, Plato was accepting of the fact that a new build, especially one unknown to the championship, was likely to encounter teething problems during it’s formative runs. However, he is confident that the engineering staff at Team BMR are more than capable of making quick progress.

“We have to learn – we’ve got to learn. But nobodys ever done this before. We’re starting from scratch and we’ve got to learn how to make this car tick,” explained the double champion.

“It won’t take us long, because we have the best engineers and designers in the BTCC, full stop. We’ve got the two best people in the business. I’ve worked with both of them for a long time and I’ve got every confidence that in a short space of time we’ll be competitive.

“There is one thing we don’t know about, and this how our reliability will come, but looking at the level of detail and the level of design that has gone into components, some of our components are in their fourth iteration before we’ve made one.

“One of the reasons why we didn’t run at Media Day is we had a problem with an engine mount on Friday and it wasn’t quite perfect. And because we couldn’t do a shakedown yesterday, we didn’t want to do a shakedown [on the day].”

Plato will now head into the opening three rounds of the new season on a wave of confidence that he can deliver Subaru their first honours in the BTCC.

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