Team BMR’s Jason Plato feels positive development has been made on his Subaru Levorg GT after the opening British Touring Car Championship meeting at Brands Hatch.
2017 marked the first time the double champion finished outside the top seven in the overall championship, with a single race victory at Knockhill and three further podium finishes as team-mate Ash Sutton secured the title.
Though Plato failed to score in the season-opening triple header in Kent last weekend [07-08 April], he says the car ‘feels like his own’ for the first time since a heavy shunt into the pit wall at the same meeting twelve months ago.
He also believes the team didn’t do enough testing on the new Dunlop tyre at the start of last season, contributing to the uncharacteristically off-colour form.
Plato says further engine development is a must for BMR in 2018 after switching from the Mountune-prepared Boxer engine to a Swindon-prepared unit, but is in optimistic mood for the remaining nine meetings.
“The most important thing is that I leave here after race three in a positive frame of mind,” said Plato.
“It’s the first time in all honesty, in eighteen months, or since the beginning of 2017, where I’ve got a car where I can feel the front [end].
“In all the practice we did here I couldn’t feel the front and we’ve made some huge set-up changes and I think now, analysing what’s happened to date, and what happened last year, some of the problems we had were from the shunt, but underneath all that the problem stemmed from not doing enough work on the new tyre at the beginning of last year.”
“I think our cars baseline setups weren’t in the right area and we made some huge changes to race one, two and three. We are going in the right sort of direction so I’m positive that we are making progress and it feels like it’s my car again. We’ve got lots of work to do on the engine but I’m going home with a smile on my face.”