Plato to race RML Lacetti at Brands
|By Jamie O'Leary
||Wednesday, April 1st 2009, 13:38 GMT
Jason Plato has made a last-minute entry into this weekend's British Touring Car Championship season-opener at Brands Hatch.
The 2001 champion, who has been without a drive since SEAT quit the series at the end of last year, has signed a deal to race a 2008-spec Chevrolet Lacetti run on an independent basis by the crack RML squad.
Plato, 41, is unsure if his deal will be extended to include a full season of racing, but is excited to be remaining in the series in which he made his name.
"This was too good an opportunity to miss." Plato said. "The BTCC has played such an important role in my life, so being at Brands Hatch is hugely important to me personally.
"At the moment, we don't know how long we'll be around. We're trying tremendously hard behind the scenes to put together a full programme for 2009. Right now, I'm just very excited to be teaming back up with some good friends and respected colleagues at RML."
Plato, a 47-time race winner in the BTCC, said he would not be content to run at the back of the field.
"We are so going into this as the underdogs, without a shadow of a doubt. But I've got great confidence in RML's ability to engineer a racing car and I've got to draw upon all my experience because I'm probably going to be a bit rusty.
"If we can get within 20 per cent of what Brawn GP did in Melbourne then we'll be doing well. We're certainly not there to make up the numbers," said RML boss Ray Mallock, who signed Plato when his squad ran the works SEAT team in the BTCC in 2004.
"There's a convenient gap in the WTCC calendar, meaning some of our personnel were available for Brands and we have some 2008 kit still lying around so it would have been a shame not to put it to good use at Brands Hatch.
"Plus, Jason is very well known at RML - it's a perfect combination and we're all delighted even if it is a last minute entry that we can be on the BTCC grid together again."