“Who’s best? Barmy Army or Jeff Army…?” 

Here’s 14 questions from the crowd at our Flux Presents event at Snetterton in August 2019. We invited Josh Cook, Jason Plato and Ash Sutton to chat about the season so far and meet fans after the Saturday’s qualifying.

Our aim with Flux Presents is to get fans closer to motorsport stars. Over 300 visitors joined us at Snetterton and quizzed the drivers on everything from BTCC and this season’s antics to the planets and the best BTCC fan group. 

Listen to the event in full on YouTube.

A full transcript is here… 

Photo by Jamie Sampson

If you could race any car, what would it be? 

Jason Plato: It would be white, with bits of blue… 

Josh Cook: Rear-wheel drive…

Jason Plato: Three series, lovely motor. Do you know what? Out of all the cars, I’d like to have a go at the three-seat McLaren, the original F1 car. Was that the 1990’s would it be? I’d like to race in one of those that would be cool… 

Josh Cook: I’d like to race a V8 supercar in Australia but I don’t think that’ll happen as I heard it’s real sunny down there…. 

Ash Sutton: I’d like a go at DTM, for me, German Touring Cars…

Have you ever looked out of your window and seen all the old cars passing by and liked them more than the new cars? 

Jason Plato: That’s a good question isn’t it?.. I think if I’m at Goodwood, without a doubt, yes. If you go down there for the revival there’s some amazing cars and even though they’re 50s and 60s some of them are just epic. But, you know, the prospect of seeing like a Morris Ital that doesn’t do anything for me or the Austin Allegro. 

Josh Cook: I don’t think you can watch a Goodwood Revival race and not really love them. Obviously, didn’t get to do it myself but I watched this guy [Jason Plato] banging around in, what was it, a Cortina? Just amazing. Great fun. So you can’t not appreciate it. 

Ash Sutton: Yeah, I’ll go with the guys here. Obviously, all the modern cars, technology nowadays it’s all moving on, things are getting better. But you can’t beat jumping back into an old classic, for example the Cortina, and hanging it out sidewards. 

Who is the most competitive racer you’ve gone up against? 

AS: Rob Collard loves to get his elbows out. Rob for me, he’ll leave you a car’s width but that’s about it… 

JC: I think all of the touring car drivers are really competitive. Even when we do the drivers’ parade and we stop there is literally a foot race to the toilet isn’t there? It’s proper elbow out, it’s like a pre-race. Everyone is really competitive but as a team-mate I had this guy [points to Ash] and he’s really hard work to race with.

JP: I prefer to say a right pain in the ar** to work with…

JC: I didn’t want to use that…

JP: He’s fit, young, slimline…. flexible…. football knowledge….

Who was your best and worst team-mate? 

AS: It’s a tricky one this one…. because they’re both sat next to me……  so I’m just going to stand over here [mic interference] They’ve both got their good traits and both got their bad traits. 

JP: They do know that was you [Josh] squealing wasn’t it?

AS: But…..it’s whoever gives the best cuddles out of the pair of them. They’re both as good as each other. Every driver has his traits and they’ve both pushed me on to where I am now and they’ve both p*ss*d me off as much as each other…

Gavin Caney (Host): And Josh, you? 

JC: Best fun in a year I had was definitely 2016 with Ash in the MG. It’s hard to say who is the worst as everyone has got their different strengths. I don’t know. It’s who you learn off the most and I probably didn’t learn, I don’t want to name any names, but in the second half of 2017 in the MG I didn’t learn very much from my team-mate…

Photo by Jamie Sampson

What could you do to make F1 more like touring cars?

JC: Put bigger bumpers on them

AS: Take the aerodynamics away

JP: Make all the drivers go down the pub 

There’s all the talk about boost issues with BMW, WSR – is there nothing the drivers can do as a whole to deal with it?

JC: Like……push them off? 

Gavin Caney: Officially is there anything you can do as a body..? 

JC: Officially push them off? 

Gavin Caney: No, not officially push them off. Is there anything you can officially do as a body? 

JC: Like a strike?

Gavin Caney: Well I don’t know… 

JP: I thought he said strut. Like we’d strut around. 

JC: Peacock around. 

JP: No, there’s not, there’s nothing we can do and that’s the frustrating thing. There’s three really happy people in the paddock and the rest aren’t so and it’s down to the organisers to look and see. They handle the data and they either want to do something or they don’t. Well I’m not sure they don’t, because they have, they’ve done something twice now, but they’re just not looking at the same mathematics as we are.

How fair do you think the penalties are that are given out?

JC: Are we getting the penalty? Or looking at….. Because I think all the penalties I get are really unfair and the penalties that everybody else gets aren’t harsh enough. They have a really tough job, they have a really tough job to do what they’re doing. Across the board, I’d say certainly the last couple of seasons, they’ve been really good. Yeah, genuinely. I mean I’ve been on the receiving end of some penalties before that I don’t agree with. But you have to understand what they do is a really tough job. There’s obviously a lot that goes on and there’s not a huge amount of time between races and I actually think, on average – I don’t agree with the penalty that I got at Oulton Park but I still understand that they have a tough job – and on average, just look at the driving standards, I think they are good and that’s as a result of the penalties that they’ve been giving.

Gavin Caney: Ash. You nodded, I think, when Josh started answering. I assume you’re nodding because he was talking and you were lost in his eyes.

AS: I’m nodding to sleep…

AS: I’m in agreeance there. The consistency is the hardest bit. Every incident is different. So, trying to keep the penalty consistent is very, very hard. For example, there was one at Croft, where I tapped the back of Chris Smiley and ended – well I didn’t end his race, but he ended up coming in last. I got a penalty for it and then he went and did the exact same thing to Jack Goff in the next race and received exactly the same penalty. When the incidents are very similar, the result in terms of a penalty, they seem to be very consistent with that.

Gavin Caney: JP, anything to add? 

JP: Erm, I think it’s a difficult job. I’m not sure I could do a good enough job. I suppose the only thing I would say is none of us here would go and get a haircut by them 

JC: I was really wondering how you were going to get that in…

This is one for you Jason, with you being more experienced shall we say? Back when you started the set-ups are different, the budgets are a lot different. What would you prefer being in the car? Would you go back to the 90’s style? Or would you rather be on the NGCT package?

JP: These cars now are tanks in comparison. Touring cars right at the end of their lifespan, 97/98/99 and 2000 were very expensive to run. They were fantastic to drive. Did you have a go in this before at Le Mans [to Ash]? They’re just brilliant. They’re much lighter than these cars. The turbo engines are really highly strung, tyres are better. Everything just works better. So yeah, I’d go back. I’m sure there’s something slightly rose-tinted in front of my eyes maybe.

If you could change any race on the calendar, what would it be?

JP: And we can go anywhere?… 

JC: I’d probably go Spa. I don’t know which one we’d get rid of. I think we should add another one in… So you have to lose one?

Gavin Caney: You have to lose one, that’s the name of the game.  

JP: Some races get two events so we can ditch one of them. What about Cadwell?

JC: That would be an interesting race wouldn’t it? I don’t think you can get two cars side by side around Cadwell so you’d have to take to the grass to overtake 

JP: Or over the top…

JP: Maybe we could do like a video game where just on the right-hand side there’s a ramp with an accelerator pull, we can either go over…

JC: We should not write rules and regs should we? 

Gavin Caney: I think it would be quite good. What are we going to put in and what are we going to ditch?

JC: I think, as I love Thruxton, it’s my home circuit. But this season we’d get rid of one of the Thruxtons and we’d go to Spa… 

Gavin Caney: Ash?

Ash: Agreed

JP: I’d like there to be a race in Barbados to be fair. There is a track there.

Josh: Again. Very sunny [for me]….

JP: We could go to Iceland 

If you had to bring back an ex-manufacturer or bring a new manufacturer into the championship, what would it be and why? 

JP: Was that bring an ex or a new?

Crowd member: Ex, or a new?

Ash: I’d like to see Ford back properly. They were good in the super tourer days 

JC: Renault.

JP: I was going to say Renault.

Josh: You looked like you were going to say that…

JP: Renault should be in touring cars again for sure.

Photo by Jamie Sampson

Most of us will agree that Jason is a legend… but a question for Ash. What was it like to teach the old dog new tricks?

AS: Look at the end of the day. I grew up looking up to this man here. Met him back in 2007 when I’d just won my first British championship in karting. We often joke about that photo…

JP: I have that picture. Why did I not put that in my book?

AS: I’m not buying a copy now. So obviously to go from looking up to someone like that and going ‘that’s where I want to be’ to being sat in the car alongside him, he taught me a load of things on and off the track and I’ll never hold anything against this man. He even helped me at the hardest point of probably what I’d say my career, coming down to that final race, he was the one that kind of picked me up and said ‘you’ve got this’.

Gavin Caney: Very nice, very nice. Josh I saw your face drop when he said he looked up to him. I’m sure he looks up to you as well I imagine.

JC: Thanks. I’m just happy to be here… 

There’s quite a few fan groups on Trackside and Facebook so it’s a serious question for Jason. Question is: Barmy Army or Jeff Army? 

JC: I think we should get a show of hands of members before you….

Gavin Caney: I think Jason’s mic has just cut out…

JP: There is absolutely no way I can win this and there’s absolutely no way I’m going to answer it. What I will say is the Barmy Army were the originals but that’s not to decry…what is it? [crowd shouts of Jeff Army] Whatever that might mean, you’re both lush…

 So all three of you, you’re in a predominantly male environment. How long do you think it’ll be now before we see the first female driver in the BTCC?

JC: I think Jade’s getting pretty close isn’t she? Jade Edwards in the Clio, she’s doing a good job. I think if anybody deserves a shot at it it should be her…

This question is for Jason. What’s been the hardest part about writing your book?

JP: In all honesty the hardest bit is……..

AS: Writing… ? 

JP: I wouldn’t say that. Had you asked me that question three weeks ago I’d have said ‘deciding what stories to go in as there’s only 280 pages and that’s it’. But actually, what was most difficult was trying to pick 55 pictures from since I was 12.

JC: Did they have photos back then? 

JP: A few of them are sepia, granted. But the hardest thing is trying to pick 55 pictures out of thousands because each picture is a story and a memory. And also probably the hardest thing is telling the publisher ‘you cannot cut that story out’; ‘well we need to’. So, yeah, making sure that everybody that’s played a role in it gets a mention, not just a name, but a story. So that’s probably been the hardest bit.

If you went to space, which planet would you go to?

Gavin Caney: That’s a good question… 

JP: That’s a belter 

JC: You can’t say Uranus…

Gavin Caney: It was set up for that wasn’t it?

JP: Do you know that’s a great question. Do you believe there are people out there? Do you think there’s other life out? [crowd member says yes] See I think there is definitely something. We can’t be the only thing, the only place where it works, so I’d want to go where the other things are living

AS: You never know, there could just be three people sat doing the same thing there… 

Gavin Caney: With better equipment

JP: I’d love to go into space and look back at the earth. That would be amazing. How about you? What planet would you go to?

Crowd member: Mars. 

JP: Mars? 

Gavin Caney: Josh. The coldest? As far away from the sun as possible… 

JC: Let’s go to Pluto…. 

AS: I’d go with him just so I don’t have to pay for the flight…

JC: I thought it was you that was taking me away… 

JP: While we’re on this spacey stuff. Have any of you seen the space station that flies over? If you haven’t, download this app called ISS and it tells you exactly where it is and tells you where….

Gavin Caney: Have you got shares in that app or something?

JC: You can read about it in his book…

Gavin Caney: Or you can watch a segment on Fifth Gear…

JP: Hang on, hang on, hang on. If it’s about the book, £19.99. But honestly if you’ve not seen it and then you can see it come over the top. And to think there’s what, 10 people in there and they’re looking and all they say is the planet. It’s mind-blowing. It always comes over at night and I might have had a drink, so it might not be as good when you’re sober as it is when you’re drunk. It is amazing… 


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