Jason Plato says that the development of BMR Racing in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will be boosted by having reigning champion Colin Turkington alongside him for the coming season.
The double BTCC champion, who holds the most number of race wins in the championship with 88 to his name, will embark on a new chapter in his illustrious BTCC career in 2015, moving to Warren Scott‘s BMR outfit to race one of the team’s four Volkswagen CCs after three seasons spent with MG and Triple Eight.
Partnering Plato and Scott will be three-time race winner, Aron Smith, plus current defending champion, Turkington, the latter now team-mate to Plato just months after the conclusion of 2014 when the pair dueled for title glory at Brands Hatch in October.
Plato says that the VW is still developing each day it heads out onto the circuits, but tips a thoroughly entertaining battle for the championship in a field featuring five former BTCC champions in 2015.
“The early signs of our pre-season testing have been good actually”, Plato said at the official launch on Tuesday (24 March).
“There’s not a great deal of difference between me and Colin – and also Aron – but in some places we’re starting to make some real progress with the car.
“I think it’s going to be a very competitive year, both internally and also in general for the championship.”
Plato set the ball rolling in Tuesday’s subsequent four-hour test at Donington Park, heading the times in changeable conditions as he beat team-mate Turkington by mere 0.006s.
Despite their 2014 rivalry, Plato heaped praise on his new stable mate, saying that his partnership with Turkington already has provided positive input for the team in their efforts to push for the title.
He added: “I think the last two months have kind of set the scene really. Colin probably talked himself down, saying he is a rear-wheel drive specialist, but I don’t subscribe to that. Colin is a world class driver and, give a world class driver any racing car and they’ll drive it well.
“One of the pleasing things for me is that Colin has a similar feel to the car that I have. We tend to dislike the same sort of characteristics that we’ve found in the car in winter testing, so that will help in our development.
“The guys have had a tough six weeks and I think now it’s time to down tools, get everything ready and checked for Brands Hatch and make sure we don’t have any reliability issues. We’ll be on the pace at Brands – if we’re not quickest we’ll be there or thereabouts and I think we can win races.”
Plato’s bid for a third BTCC title commences on Easter weekend in the season opener at Brands Hatch’s Indy circuit on 4/5 April.