It's official - Jason Plato has set more fastest race laps than any other competitor in this year's Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship field. The 32-year-old from Oxford has set six fastest laps so far in the 24-round Championship, which is twice as many as the next men down, Ford's Anthony Reid and Rickard Rydell. Vauxhall also heads the manufacturer's tally with Plato's team-mate, Yvan Muller's two fastest laps at Silverstone taking the total to eight and confirming the Vectra as the car to catch.
Plato's six fastest race times have been achieved periodically through the season emphasising the consistent performance of both man and machine. Driving his Triple Eight Race Engineering-prepared 2.0-litre, 16-valve front-wheel drive Vauxhall Vectra, Plato kicked off his fast-paced season with a scorching time at the first round of the Championship at Brands Hatch.
This was followed by a double during Rounds 5 & 6 at Thruxton whilst on his way to second and third place podium positions. Three rounds later at Oulton Park, he did it again in the 16-lap Sprint Race whilst Rounds 15 & 16 saw Plato give two thrilling displays of speed and skill as he set the pace at the Snetterton night races. His hard work was rewarded with a Sprint Race win and Feature Race second place podium position.
"I have to say that the Vectra has proved to be a great car, especially in race trim. Its consistency throughout the season has been crucial to our pace and overall championship challenge," commented Plato. Continued.
"But, I also try to be a consistent driver and not make too many mistakes myself. It's no good being fast but erratic, a driver has to learn how to be continually on the pace throughout a race. That is where driver fitness can be crucial too, you have to be physically capable of getting the most out of your car. It's an athletic sport and a professional racing driver has to be fit and strong," Plato concluded.
Jason Plato's performance in the Vectra should come as no great surprise. This is the same driver who set pole position in his very first three BTCC races back in 1997, a record that still stands. This season, Plato has set pole position twice and powered his way to two wins, three second places and a third place podium position. The talented driver currently stands fifth in the Championship and with six rounds to go, is still within reach of the much coveted title.
We can expect to see further dazzling performances from Jason Plato and his team-mates, Yvan Muller and Vincent Radermecker when they take their Vectras to Brands Hatch (27/28 August), Oulton Park (9/10 September) and Silverstone (16/17 September) for a thrilling climax to the 2000 Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship.