As Jason Plato prepares to tick off another landmark weekend in his British Touring Car Championship career, the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing driver insists he remains more concerned about chasing his first race victories with the Subaru Levorg GT as he looks to continue his charge back towards the sharp end of the championship standings.
Plato, twice a champion in the UK’s premier tin-top series already, will mark his 500th start in the championship when the first of three races gets underway at 11:50 on Sunday morning this weekend [14th August], as the series makes it’s annual trip north of the Scottish border to Knockhill.
The 48-year old currently has 94 race victories, 220 podium finishes, 47 pole positions and 83 fastest laps to his name among his championship titles and other national awards.
Plato’s impact on the championship has spanned far further than his impressive competitive record, with an impressive record of manufacturer association including Vauxhall, SEAT, Chevrolet, MG and, as of this season, Subaru.
The latter three all owe their participation in some part to Plato, who manages his own successful marketing agency, Brand Pilot, alongside his commitments with the BRDC and his career in the media.
Commenting ahead of the weekend, Plato recognised the significance of reaching the milestone number, but insisted that the task at hand behind the wheel remained a more pressing concern as he looks to close the gap in the standings with four meetings remaining in this season’s title run-in.
“I’m sure it’s something I’ll look back on fondly at the end of my career, but for now I’m focused on the job at hand,” he commented.
“I’m more interested in the number of wins I’ve had than the number of races, to be honest.”
The season so far has proved to be a mixed one for Plato, with the early teething problems of the Levorg quickly giving way to an impressive surge in performance, including a run of five podiums in six races at both Oulton Park and Croft in June.
As a result, Plato heads into the weekend placed 11th in the Drivers standings, 67 adrift of leader Rob Collard with a maximum of 264 points left for a driver to mathematically score with a perfect record from hereon in.
Knockhill has been a happy hunting ground for rear-wheel drive machinery such as the Levorg in recent seasons, primarily in the form of success for the BMW 125i M-Sport, with the changes in gradient and undulating nature of the circuit set to favor Plato and Team BMR in their quest for strong performances this weekend.
A first victory for Plato at the notoriously challenging 1.27 mile circuit this weekend would see him maintain his record of winning a race in every season of his British Touring Car Championship career.
With team-mate Colin Turkington having already claimed a hat-trick of victories in the Levorg at Oulton Park, Croft and Snetterton respectively, Plato is happy playing the long game in this, his first season of a multi-year deal with the famous Japanese brand.
“I feel like it’s close, but we’re not losing too much sleep over it. Things just haven’t quite gone my way so far this year,” he added.
With a total of twelve races to go this season, Plato still remains within contention for the title, albeit anoutside shot. A victory this weekend would certainly add fuel to the fire as he chases a third crown.