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Jason Plato laments ‘spanner in the works’ with boxer penalty

Jason Plato has described as a ‘spanner in the works’ the penalty which his Subaru team have been forced to carry in the British Touring Car Championship – which was recently introduced due to the car’s unique boxer engine layout.

Plato and team-mates Ash Sutton, James Cole and Josh Price have been forced to carry the penalty to offset the perceived advantage that the Subaru Levorg’s unique boxer engine layout affords them.

The horizontally-mounted engine sits similarly far back in the engine bay to the other rear-wheel drive cars like the BMWs, which has been perceived to carry an advantageous element.

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But ahead of the season opener at Brands Hatch last weekend, all four Levorg Estates were forced to run with new restrictions, enforced by TOCA, to try to equalise the advantage compared to their rivals. Specifically the cars must run with a slightly raised ride height and a slight weight recalculation of -2.5 kg, which has affected the pre-season testing data collected by the team.

“It was a disaster to be honest,” said Plato of the move to the Adrian Flux blog, with the double champion enduring a disastrous weekend at the season opener. “A curveball came in in the week before Brands Hatch. We could not get the cars working properly at all.

“There were some adjustments late to the cars and now we’re working out how to try to make them work. But the new settings we’ve had to run have thrown a spanner in the works for the time being.”

Plato’s car ended up being destroyed in race two due to a start-line shunt involving the Honda of Matt Simpson, and his BMR team have been working flat-out ever since to ready the car for the second meeting at Donington Park in two weeks’ time.

“We’ve made some improvements to the car since the end of last season, but we had to run the car in the current configuration at Brands Hatch and that didn’t work, and now we need to work out how we can move forward to Donington.

“When we tested at Donington before the season we had a very good feel and I was very confident.

“My car is being prepared so the guys have got a massive job in getting it all ready – they’re flat out because there was an awful lot of damage.”

Plato left Brands Hatch just 17th overall in the drivers’ championship standings, having picked up just a handful of points in the opening race.

This article was amended on April 15th.

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