BTCC Crazy

Plato and Triple Eight boss Harrison hit out at RWD advantage

Jason Plato was left frustrated leaving Cheshire’s Oulton Park where solid points were scored, although questions of parity between front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive emerged again.

Qualifying second on Saturday, the MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver took a third place in race one behind the eBay Motors 1-2 of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard. In round 11 around the International layout, the double champion crossed the line fourth and finished there for the reverse grid race. The MG driver had taken third but a stewards enquiry ruled that his last lap move on Turkington was too physical and their positions were switched.

Sitting fourth in the championship standings, 36 points behind new leader Turkington, Plato believes parity needs to be sought after surrounding the rear-wheel-drive machines as the series heads to Croft in under three weeks time.

Speaking on the subject, Plato said: “It was good to get points, but we certainly didn’t expect to be so far off the BMWs. They were on a different level this weekend. There’s meant to be performance parity, but once again the rear-wheel drive cars streaked ahead at the start and into the distance. It’s a BMW championship, I’m afraid. We’ve reached the point where we can’t do any better because we’re not allowed to.

“When all the NGTC cars are developed, RWD is inherently better; better weight distribution, better traction. They need extra weight or a longer first gear. That’s not just based on today; it’s based on 20 years’ experience. I think they’ll win races everywhere, and with circuits such as Croft and Knockhill coming up, Colin could be way ahead come September.”

Triple Eight Engineering team boss Ian Harrison has echoed Plato’s claims and admits that it may be time to assess reverting to rear-wheel-drive in the future.

Harrison said: ““NGTC has been a great success in terms of giving teams the opportunity to compete in the BTCC. What has become clear however, is that as the cars have now been developed close to the maximum of their performance within the regulations, the NGTC technical regs favour a RWD platform.

“Naturally we, like other teams, will have to look to the future to see which RWD platforms are available to us because unless the disparity is addressed, we will certainly be forced down the RWD route. If other teams follow suit, the championship runs the risk of not reflecting the automobile industry which is predominantly FWD.”

Article originally written on Thursday, 9 June 2016. Read more articles from the BTCC Crazy Archive.