Waiting game for Plato and Subarus

Jason Plato and the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing team head to Thruxton this weekend unsure of how a boost recalculation will affect their chances.

The two-time BTCC champion has suffered a “depressing” start to the season after two rounds at Brands Hatch and Donington that have featured retirements, low power and an unfamiliar rear view of the pace-setters.

And Ash Sutton’s outstanding effort at Donington apart, which netted two podium finishes, all the Subarus have suffered from new centre of gravity regulations that have neutered the car’s one big, natural advantage.

And while the car is still quick through the corners, the lack of straight-line speed has seriously hampered Team BMR’s drivers.

Before setting off for Thruxton, Plato told us: “TOCA, the championship organisers have done a re-boost calculation for all the teams and we’re waiting to see what effect that has on us.”

In accordance with TOCA regulations, he was unable to shed any more light on the extent of the new boost calculation as these numbers must stay behind closed doors.

“We will know whether the new calculations based upon on-track engine performance at Brands Hatch and Donington are correct. It’s clear to see we have been very, very slow on the straights and it’s clear to see that some people are very fast in the straights, and it should not be like that.

“From the regulations perspective everyone should have similar power – that’s what they’re designed to do. We have to trust TOCA and see what we get when we get there.

“The team have been working really hard looking at every single thing to get our programme back on track.”

As well as a lack of straight-line speed, the centre of gravity regulations imposed pre-season have affected the Subaru’s performance in unexpected ways, with the team’s engineers still wrestling with solutions.

Much to ponder for Plato and Team BMR

“The centre of gravity regulations imposed only on Subaru has brought us many negatives and we are still discovering new negatives every single day,’ added Plato.

“Lifting the car affects so many other things and nobody really knows until you work diligently through it to patch up the many wounds we have.

“We’re working so hard to get to the bottom of it and to try to find solutions to the centre of pressure under the car being moved rear wards as the air curtain under the car affects so many aspects of performance.”

So on to Thruxton, one of the fastest circuits in the country which will test the Subaru’s power output to the full.

“I can’t be confident ahead of Thruxton based on the performance we’ve had this year – I’m a little bit more hopeful than I was going to Donington but we’re still a long way off.

“Looking at the difference between the Honda, BMW, TOCA engine cars and Fords compared to us we are just miles away. We can make up a little bit of time through our engineering and through the corners, but it’s marginal and everything has to be 100%.

“It all sounds doom and gloom but we’re still fighting – it’s just very difficult at the moment. Looking at where we were at the end of last year to where we are now is depressing to say the least.”

Live coverage from Thruxton is on ITV4 on Sunday.

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