Jason Plato added another brace of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium finishes to his 2016 tally at Croft last weekend, insisting that bigger gains are expected after the summer break.
The two-time BTCC champion extended his podium streak to five after a pair of second place finishes in North Yorkshire, 10th place in a wet third encounter ending that run but ensuring he took away 41 points in total.
Despite a collision with Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team-mate Colin Turkington in race two potentially costing the team a second one-two finish of the day, Plato was very satisfied with his day’s work.
“Another great weekend”, a brimming Plato told The Checkered Flag afterwards, adding that the damp third race was an ideal data-gathering opportunity. “We’re learning a lot.
“Personally for me, the wet race was my first time in one of these cars in the wet. I took it a little bit more gingerly and a bit softer towards the beginning, until I could go ‘right, I’m with it now and let’s see how the grip is here’.
“Piece that together – there’s the fastest lap. I held that for most of the race.”
As the BTCC teams head into the traditional summer break, Plato says that the Levorg will only get stronger in the second half of the season. Aero and chassis developments were among the key areas for improvement, but early flashes of success in 2016 have breathed optimism into the Subaru driver.
“It’s very good. There’s still things I want to change, but we’ve still got quit a lot of gains to come in the dry. We’ve got some aero work to come in our wind tunnel and new aero plans for Snetterton.
“We’re going to make big gains on our development of the chassis. We’re not quite right yet, but somewhere near the theory now. Every step we get down this line, we get better and better.
“We’re still learning, but we’ve not done any [proper] testing. We’ll get that in the summer. It takes time, plus I’m still getting my head out of the FWD kind of thinking.”
An extra straight-line boost was another area that Plato pointed to for improvement, adding: “We know that we’re 35bhp down. It’s not about lap time – it’s about straight-line performance.”
Plato’s results moved him up to 13th in the overall Drivers’ Championship, albeit 78 points adrift of current leader, Sam Tordoff.