Jason Plato

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Jason Plato
Jason plato silverstone2012.JPG
Nationality  British
Born (1967-10-14) 14 October 1967 (age 46)
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
2014 British Touring Car Championship
Debut season 1997
Current team MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save
Car no. 99
Former teams Williams Renault
Vauxhall
SEAT Sport UK
Silverline Chevrolet
Starts 445
Wins 87
Poles 45
Fastest laps 78
Best champ.
finish
1st in 2001, 2010
Previous series
2005
2002
1996
1990–91, 1995
1992
1991
WTCC
ASCAR
Renault Spider Cup
Formula Renault GB
British F3
Formula Renault Eurocup
Championship titles
2001, 2010
1996
1991
BTCC
Renault Spider Cup
Formula Renault Eurocup

Timothy Jason Plato (born 14 October 1967 in Oxford, Oxfordshire) is a British racing car driver currently competing in the BTCC for MG KX Momentum Racing. He is a two-time BTCC champion having previously won the series in 2001 when driving for Vauxhall and 2010 for Silverline Chevrolet. He has finished in the top 3 in the championship 9 times and holds the record for the most overall race wins in the BTCC. He is also a presenter on motoring television series Fifth Gear.

Career history[edit]

Plato, who was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England was educated at the King's School, Tynemouth.

After success in karting he raced in Formula Three and Formula Renault. In 1996 he entered the Renault Spider championship, making a dominant title win.

BTCC[edit]

In 1997 he gained the second drive in the Williams-Renault BTCC team, by 'door stepping' Frank Williams until he let him in his office after five hours waiting, eventually telling him two days later that there would be a test between him, Gianni Morbidelli and Jean-Christophe Boullion with the fastest getting the contract offer.

He made a sensational start in the Renault Laguna, taking pole for his first three races, and ultimately winning 2 races as a rookie, taking 3rd in the championship won by team-mate Alain Menu. He was 5th in the series in each of the next two years

Plato joined Vauxhall in 2000, again taking 5th place in the championship. For 2001 the series had a new set of reduced-cost rules, fewer big-name drivers as a result, and Vauxhall had by far the best car. In a contentious and hard-fought season, Plato won the championship after team-mate Yvan Muller's car set alight at the last round.

Break from BTCC[edit]

With an ambition to get into NASCAR racing, Plato moved to the British ASCAR stock car scene in 2002, finishing 3rd in the championship.

In 2003 he was a driver coach for SEAT; this being the link which led to him returning with the Spanish team in 2004.

BTCC return[edit]

He was employed by SEAT to help with their driver development in 2003, and when they entered a BTCC team in 2004, he was the natural choice to lead the team. He was third in the championship that year with seven wins, more than anyone else although the team used the reverse-grid regulations to their advantage. The driver finishing 10th in the first of the meeting's 3 races had pole (and a light car) for race 2, and the winner of race 2 had pole for race 3 (although with a now-heavier car), so Plato frequently dropped back to 10th in race one, often going on to win races 2 and 3. As a result of this, the championship rules were changed to reversing the top 10 of the race 3 grid, somewhat scuppering this tactic, and the pace of Matt Neal's Team Dynamics Honda and Yvan Muller's Vauxhall left him unable to challenge for a second title in 2005. He finished 4th in the 2005 championship with only three wins to his credit during the season, with the team now run by Northern South.

Plato driving for SEAT at the Oulton Park round of the 2006 British Touring Car Championship.
Plato driving for SEAT at the Oulton Park round of the 2007 British Touring Car Championship.

For 2006, Plato continued in the British Touring Car Championship as lead driver for SEAT and their new León touring car. He was the only driver in the three-driver team to compete in all 10 meetings – his team-mates, two times BTCC champion James Thompson and ex-DTM driver Darren Turner, shared the team's second Leon. After the first 3 meetings he was a point behind Thompson in 3rd in the championship, and two retirements in the races at Thruxton did not help his cause. After winning race 1 at Croft, race 2 was his 200th start, and it was nearly a glorious one, before Matt Neal passed him with 2 laps to go. He won 2 out of the 3 races at Brands Hatch to keep his faint hopes of winning the BTCC in 2006 alive, but a poor qualifying run at Silverstone finally ended his hopes. He did pip Colin Turkington to 2nd in the championship, meaning that he has now finished in each of the top 5 championship positions.

Winning the first two races of 2007 set the tone for a title battle with Fabrizio Giovanardi's Vauxhall. Giovanardi took the series lead at Knockhill but Plato retook it at Donington Park, after fighting from 9th on the grid to come 5th in race one and then win race 2. He started race 3 from 9th (after spinning this position on the grid-reversal wheel) but fought through to take the lead from Mike Jordan, with some uncertainty over whether he had passed under yellow. To ensure that he was not penalised he allowed Jordan to repass him, before retaking the lead a lap later. The battle went to the final round, with Giovanardi winning by 3 points to take the championship, with Plato declaring that "Fabrizio beat us the right way. He is a very worthy champion and there were no shenanigans between me and him."[1]

In 2008 the team switched to a diesel-powered Leon. The first win for a diesel car in the BTCC came in round 7 at Donington Park. Two wins at Snetterton helped to championship close the gap on Giovanardi,[2] but a mechanical failure in race 3 was a precursor to a similar problem in race 2 at Oulton Park, after winning race 1. These incidents have typified a season in which performance has not been matched by reliability, despite the same cars being largely reliable in the World Touring Car Championship. Plato went into the final rounds at Brands Hatch still mathematically in with a chance of the title, but admitted that the large points difference between him and Fabrizio Giovanardi made this unrealistic. Both he and Giovanardi had poor final rounds at Brands, allowing Mat Jackson to leapfrog Plato for 2nd overall in his privateer BMW.

Plato's plans for 2009 had been affected by SEAT's shock announcement to pull their factory team out of the BTCC at the end of the 2008 season. It was speculated that Plato was planning to take a sabbatical from racing to focus on his TV work. However, after holding talks over the off-season with West Surrey Racing and Tempus Sport, Plato decided to return to the BTCC in a privately entered RML Group Chevrolet Lacetti. After the first meeting, the team secured sponsorship from Silverline power tools and Auto Windscreens for the rest of the season, they raced under the Racing Silverline banner. At the final round of the season at Brands Hatch, he became only the second driver after Dan Eaves at Thruxton in 2005 to win all three races, the first of which he won by a then closest-ever BTCC winning margin of 0.015 seconds, ahead of Tom Chilton. He finished 2nd in the 2009 championship, 5 points behind champion Colin Turkington.

For 2010 RML became an official Chevrolet manufacturer team, racing the Cruze model that races in the World Touring Car Championship, with Plato as lead driver. Plato was a championship challenger immediately, with a double victory at Snetterton returning him to the championship lead.[3] Jason dominated the 2nd half of the season and finally claimed the 2010 MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship by winning round 29 at Brands Hatch on 10 October 2010. His win was also his 60th equalling Andy Rouse's BTCC record.

After starting 3rd on the grid, Plato won the first round of the 2011 season at Brands Hatch, setting a new BTCC record of 61 victories.

Other racing[edit]

Plato competed in the Bathurst 1000 and Sandown 500 numerous times, but without any great success. His last attempt at Bathurst was with the Holden Racing Team and was driving with the late Peter Brock. Plato and Brock's race ended with Plato being involved in a crash which resulted in John Cleland's car roll onto its roof.

During his 2005 BTCC campaign, he also competed in four rounds of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) for SEAT Sport. He managed a second place finish in race two of his home round FIA WTCC Race of UK at Silverstone. He also won a race and finished second overall in the 2005 European Touring Car Cup.

Television career[edit]

Plato is a co-presenter for the Channel 5 British TV series Fifth Gear co-starring with Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson. He has previously co-presented Channel 4's motoring program 'driven' alongside Mike Brewer and Penny Mallory.

Plato was injured in a Caparo T1 supercar in October 2007 during filming for Fifth Gear at Bruntingthorpe proving ground. The car caught fire at an estimated 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph) and Plato described his injuries as follows:

“The back of my neck is burnt and so are my face and hands. I obviously couldn’t take my hands off the steering wheel whilst braking and my right hand is more badly burnt than my left."

He was taken from the scene by former BTCC driver Phil Bennett and after treatment at three hospitals, including Stoke Mandeville Hospital's specialist burns unit, Plato was able to compete in the following weekend's final race in the 2007 BTCC calendar.[4] This incident was also mentioned on Top Gear, where Jeremy Clarkson called him a 'Baked Potato' after mispronouncing his name.

Plato also presented the popular Sky One television program Mission Implausible where he and Tania Zaetta compete to perform three stunts over the course of each episode.

Personal life[edit]

Jason is married to Sophie and they have two girls. A qualified pilot, he owned a Piper Malibu Mirage to commute to his former home in Monaco. Jason is a brand ambassador of: Agusta Westland Helicopters, Tesco Momentum 99 Fuel, Jigsaw24 and AMX Home Automation Systems. He runs a marketing agency called Brand Pilot.

Racing record[edit]

Complete British Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) Races in bold indicate pole position (1 point awarded – 1997–2002 all races, 2003–present just in first race, 2000–2003 in class) Races in italics indicate fastest lap (1 point awarded – 2001–present all races, 2000–2003 in class) * signifies that driver lead race for at least one lap (1 point awarded – 1998–2002 just in feature races, 2003–present all races)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 DC Pts
1997 Williams Renault Dealer Racing Renault Laguna DON
1

2
DON
2

Ret
SIL
1

10
SIL
2

3
THR
1

Ret
THR
2

7
BRH
1

3
BRH
2

5
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

4
DON
1

4
DON
2

Ret
CRO
1

2
CRO
2

4
KNO
1

Ret
KNO
2

5
SNE
1

4
SNE
2

1
THR
1

7
THR
2

6
BRH
1

2
BRH
2

Ret
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

1
3rd 170
1998 Blend 37 Williams Renault Renault Laguna THR
1

2
THR
2

4
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

2*
DON
1

Ret
DON
2

5
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

Ret
OUL
1

4
OUL
2

1*
DON
1

9
DON
2

Ret
CRO
1

8
CRO
2

6
SNE
1

2
SNE
2

3
THR
1

Ret
THR
2

Ret
KNO
1

Ret
KNO
2

5
BRH
1

7
BRH
2

4*
OUL
1

6
OUL
2

2
SIL
1

4
SIL
2

6
5th 163
1999 Nescafé Blend 37 Williams Renault Renault Laguna DON
1

3
DON
2

3
SIL
1

6
SIL
2

1*
THR
1

Ret
THR
2

4*
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

Ret*
OUL
1

Ret
OUL
2

Ret
DON
1

3
DON
2

8
CRO
1

6
CRO
2

6
SNE
1

4
SNE
2

6
THR
1

5
THR
2

4
KNO
1

Ret
KNO
2

Ret
BRH
1

6
BRH
2

8
OUL
1

Ret
OUL
2

6
SIL
1

Ret
SIL
2

Ret
5th 122
2000 Vauxhall Motorsport Vauxhall Vectra T BRH
1

4
BRH
2

1*
DON
1

6
DON
2

7
THR
1

3
THR
2

2*
KNO
1

8
KNO
2

8
OUL
1

7
OUL
2

2
SIL
1

Ret
SIL
2

5
CRO
1

Ret
CRO
2

Ret‡
SNE
1

1
SNE
2

2
DON
1

5
DON
2

7
BRH
1

7
BRH
2

3*
OUL
1

9
OUL
2

4
SIL
1

Ret
SIL
2

2
5th 160
2001 Vauxhall Motorsport Vauxhall Astra Coupé T BRH
1

2
BRH
2

2*
THR
1

1
THR
2

2*
OUL
1

9
OUL
2

Ret*
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

1*
MON
1

17
MON
2

2*
DON
1

2
DON
2

1*
KNO
1

2
KNO
2

1*
SNE
1

3
SNE
2

3*
CRO
1

2
CRO
2

2
OUL
1

3
OUL
2

1*
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

3*
DON
1

5
DON
2

3
BRH
1

3
BRH
2

2
1st 336
2004 SEAT Sport UK SEAT Toledo Cupra THR
1

8
THR
2

1*
THR
3

4
BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

DNS
BRH
3

Ret
SIL
1

3*
SIL
2

9
SIL
3

2
OUL
1

8
OUL
2

2
OUL
3

Ret*
MON
1

9
MON
2

1*
MON
3

Ret*
CRO
1

9
CRO
2

1*
CRO
3

1*
KNO
1

10
KNO
2

1*
KNO
3

7*
BRH
1

9
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

2*
SNE
1

11
SNE
2

3
SNE
3

10
DON
1

1*
DON
2

6
DON
3

2
3rd 224
2005 SEAT Sport UK SEAT Toledo Cupra DON
1

6
DON
2

5
DON
3

6*
THR
1

2*
THR
2

5
THR
3

5*
BRH
1

4
BRH
2

2
BRH
3

3
OUL
1

1*
OUL
2

10*
OUL
3

3
CRO
1

4
CRO
2

13
CRO
3

3
MON
1

2
MON
2

10
MON
3

Ret
SNE
1

Ret
SNE
2

10
SNE
3

1*
KNO
1

6
KNO
2

8
KNO
3

5
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

DSQ
SIL
3

6
BRH
1

3
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

Ret
4th 208
2006 SEAT Sport UK SEAT León BRH
1

Ret
BRH
2

5
BRH
3

1*
MON
1

2
MON
2

2
MON
3

8
OUL
1

14*
OUL
2

6
OUL
3

1*
THR
1

Ret
THR
2

Ret
THR
3

3
CRO
1

1*
CRO
2

2*
CRO
3

3
DON
1

7
DON
2

Ret
DON
3

Ret
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

1*
SNE
3

6
KNO
1

1*
KNO
2

Ret*
KNO
3

DNS
BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

3
SIL
1

8
SIL
2

Ret
SIL
3

4
2nd 241
2007 SEAT Sport UK SEAT León BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

4
ROC
1

3
ROC
2

5
ROC
3

1*
THR
1

2
THR
2

6
THR
3

1*
CRO
1

7
CRO
2

2*
CRO
3

8
OUL
1

7
OUL
2

5
OUL
3

2
DON
1

5
DON
2

1*
DON
3

1*
SNE
1

8
SNE
2

3
SNE
3

4
BRH
1

2
BRH
2

2
BRH
3

5
KNO
1

3
KNO
2

5
KNO
3

3
THR
1

2
THR
2

2
THR
3

4
2nd 297
2008 SEAT Sport UK SEAT León TDI BRH
1

3
BRH
2

3
BRH
3

5
ROC
1

9
ROC
2

9
ROC
3

6
DON
1

1*
DON
2

2*
DON
3

3
THR
1

DSQ
THR
2

7
THR
3

1*
CRO
1

12
CRO
2

8
CRO
3

12
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

1*
SNE
3

Ret
OUL
1

1*
OUL
2

NC*
OUL
3

9
KNO
1

1*
KNO
2

1*
KNO
3

Ret
SIL
1

1*
SIL
2

7*
SIL
3

5*
BRH
1

5
BRH
2

Ret
BRH
3

13
3rd 223
2009 RML Chevrolet Lacetti BRH
1

6
BRH
2

10
BRH
3

1*
2nd 270
Racing Silverline THR
1

10
THR
2

6
THR
3

4
DON
1

7
DON
2

4
DON
3

3
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

3
OUL
3

5
CRO
1

3
CRO
2

3
CRO
3

5
SNE
1

Ret
SNE
2

3
SNE
3

13
KNO
1

1*
KNO
2

Ret
KNO
3

2
SIL
1

2
SIL
2

1*
SIL
3

7
ROC
1

2
ROC
2

1*
ROC
3

12
BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

1*
2010 Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze THR
1

2
THR
2

4
THR
3

3
ROC
1

3
ROC
2

1*
ROC
3

5
BRH
1

8
BRH
2

Ret
BRH
3

Ret
OUL
1

10
OUL
2

1*
OUL
3

6
CRO
1

3
CRO
2

3
CRO
3

16
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

1*
SNE
3

5
SIL
1

3
SIL
2

4
SIL
3

9
KNO
1

6
KNO
2

3
KNO
3

1*
DON
1

Ret
DON
2

3
DON
3

3
BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

9
1st 260
2011 Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze LT BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

5
DON
1

18
DON
2

Ret
DON
3

6
THR
1

Ret
THR
2

8
THR
3

1*
OUL
1

2
OUL
2

1*
OUL
3

11
CRO
1

4
CRO
2

Ret
CRO
3

11
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

3
SNE
3

3
KNO
1

7
KNO
2

7
KNO
3

Ret*
ROC
1

1*
ROC
2

4*
ROC
3

5
BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

6
SIL
1

Ret
SIL
2

7
SIL
3

2
3rd 236
2012 MG KX Momentum Racing MG 6 BRH
1

4
BRH
2

3*
BRH
3

1*
DON
1

4
DON
2

NC
DON
3

2
THR
1

3
THR
2

2
THR
3

4
OUL
1

NC
OUL
2

3
OUL
3

2
CRO
1

NC
CRO
2

7
CRO
3

1*
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

3*
SNE
3

3
KNO
1

Ret
KNO
2

11
KNO
3

Ret
ROC
1

1*
ROC
2

3
ROC
3

3
SIL
1

1*
SIL
2

Ret*
SIL
3

1*
BRH
1

8
BRH
2

5
BRH
3

8
3rd 376
2013 MG KX Momentum Racing MG 6 BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

5
DON
1

4
DON
2

2
DON
3

8
THR
1

2
THR
2

5
THR
3

22*
OUL
1

1*
OUL
2

1*
OUL
3

Ret
CRO
1

5
CRO
2

20*
CRO
3

6
SNE
1

2
SNE
2

Ret*
SNE
3

Ret
KNO
1

4
KNO
2

7
KNO
3

5
ROC
1

5
ROC
2

6
ROC
3

3
SIL
1

1*
SIL
2

1*
SIL
3

7
BRH
1

1*
BRH
2

1*
BRH
3

10
3rd 380
2014 MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG 6 BRH
1

2
BRH
2

11
BRH
3

3
DON
1

1*
DON
2

2
DON
3

6
THR
1

6
THR
2

7
THR
3

Ret
OUL
1

3
OUL
2

4
OUL
3

4
CRO
1

3
CRO
2

5
CRO
3

10
SNE
1

1*
SNE
2

1*
SNE
3

4
KNO
1

5
KNO
2

2
KNO
3

10
ROC
1

-
ROC
2

-
ROC
3

-
SIL
1

-
SIL
2

-
SIL
3

-
BRH
1

-
BRH
2

-
BRH
3

-
3rd* 270*

* Season in progress.

‡ Retired before 2nd start of race

Complete World Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 DC Points
2005 SEAT Sport SEAT Toledo Cupra ITA
1
ITA
2
FRA
1
FRA
2
GBR
1

8
GBR
2

2
SMR
1

11
SMR
2

8
MEX
1

11
MEX
2

12
BEL
1

9
BEL
2

14
GER
1
GER
2
TUR
1
TUR
2
ESP
1
ESP
2
MAC
1
MAC
2
15th 10

Complete V8 Supercar results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Position Points
2000 Holden Racing Team Holden VT Commodore PHI PTH ADL ECK HDV CAN QLD WIN OPK CDR QLD SAN BAT
10
33rd 120
2004 Holden Racing Team Holden VY Commodore ADL ECK PUK HDV PTH QLD WIN OPK SAN
14
BAT
Ret
SUR SYM ECK 58th 140

References[edit]

  1. ^ Autosport. 14 March 2008 http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/65727 |url= missing title (help). 
  2. ^ Briggs, Gemma (14 July 2008). "Plato doubles up but can't close gap to BTCC leader". The Guardian (London). 
  3. ^ "Plato doubles up". crash.net (Crash Media Group). 8 August 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.btcc.net/html/generalnews_detail.php?id=758&PHPSESSID=8bf937813a7bfde2cf0e702f8498e6c5

External links[edit]

Media related to Jason Plato at Wikimedia Commons

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Thomas Erdos
British Formula Renault
UK series champion

1991
Succeeded by
Pedro de la Rosa
Preceded by
N/A
British Renault Spider Champion
1996
Succeeded by
N/A
Preceded by
Alain Menu
British Touring Car Champion
2001
Succeeded by
James Thompson
Preceded by
Colin Turkington
British Touring Car Champion
2010
Succeeded by
Matt Neal
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mike Conway
Autosport
National Racing Driver of the Year

2007
Succeeded by
Oliver Turvey
Preceded by
Colin Turkington
Autosport Awards
National Driver of the Year

2010
Succeeded by
Matt Neal