Power Maxed Racing has revealed that Jason Plato will return to the British Touring Car Championship for the 2021 season in one of the team's two Vauxhall Astras. The news was announced by Power Maxed founder and chairman Paul Milesi.
Plato last raced for the team in 2015, when he finished fifth in the championship with a best result of fourth at his home event of Oulton Park. He left at the end of that season to make way for former Ford driver Andy Priaulx who had just been signed up to drive for Aston Martin Racing. Since then Plato has gone on to win the World Endurance Championship with Toyota alongside fellow Briton Anthony Davidson.
When asked if there were any plans to bring back other BTCC drivers to the team, Milesi said: "At this stage nothing is confirmed but we are talking to some people about coming back."
Plato's future in the WEC has not been resolved yet. He and Davidson have both one year left on their contracts which ends in 2022. After losing its factory support from Toyota at the end of 2019 it remains to be seen what role Power Maxed Racing will have in the WEC next year.
Following a COVID-mandated hiatus in 2020, Jason Plato will return to the British Touring Car Championship with Power Maxed Racing in 2021. "I'm looking forward to the future with Power Maxed Car Care Racing...." read more.
"Winning the final race of 2019 has fueled my fire, and I'm more than eager to get back out there and win my 100th race!" said Plato.
Jason Plato, who has won a record 98 races in the British Touring Car Championship, will not compete this season as the Power Maxed Racing team elected to focus its efforts on 2021. This leaves room for other drivers to win races this year.
Plato has won every championship bar one that was back in 1994 when he was still racing karts. He has also won every award there is to be won in the BTCC, including champion driver five times, most wins (98) and best rookie driver (1992).
He announced his retirement from full-time competition at the end of the 2019 season but has agreed to drive in selected races this year while his team focuses on next year's campaign.
Plato said: "It's hard to believe it has come to an end but after 22 seasons I am looking forward to a well-earned rest. I would like to thank my family, my sponsors and everyone at Power Maxed Racing for all their support over the years."
Team owner Paul O'Neill added: "We had a great season with Jason this year and we came close to our first ever championship victory. We made some good progress throughout the year and are looking forward to building on that next year."
Power Maxed Racing will not compete in the whole 2020 British Touring Car Championship, leaving Jason Plato, the most successful driver in BTCC history with 97 race victories and two championships, without a place. However, Power Maxed Racing will still run one car in the season-opening Autocentre South Wales Rally GB.
Plato has decided to step down after 19 years in the championship. His replacement at Power Maxed Racing will be announced soon. In the meantime, the team will run former Renault UK Dealer Team driver Matt Neal in all remaining races this year.
Neal has been working with the team as a test and reserve driver since last year. He will be responsible for filling in when Plato is unable to drive due to health or other reasons.
He won't be replacing Plato but rather serving as his backup. The team stated that it plans to retain its title as the most successful touring car team in history.
Plato has been suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome for several months now. In February, he was forced to retire from the Oulton Park round of the championship after only three rounds due to illness.
Racing with Maximum Power
|Current team||Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing|
|Former teams||Williams Renault Vauxhall SEAT Sport UK Silverline Chevrolet MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save Adrian Flux Subaru Racing|
Jason Plato Earnings-British racing driver Jason Plato has won more races than any other auto racer in the BTCC's history. He has two BTCC championships, one for Vauxhall in 2001 and one for Silverline Chevrolet in 2010. From 2004 till the present, Jason has been a TV presenter for Channel 5's driving television programme Fifth Gear.
He has also raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours five times, finishing on the podium three times. His best result so far is second place in 2006 with Toyota Racing Team GB. In 2007, he was involved in a fatal crash during practice for that year's race. A young fan named Justin Hillier was watching from the grandstands and died at the scene.
Plato was not hurt in the incident but it did affect his performance during the race which was run while he was in hospital being treated for shock. He came in fifth place in the championship that year.
In 2008, he returned to the BTCC with Halfords Yuasa Racing. They didn't finish higher than ninth place in the season-long standings because Plato suffered multiple injuries during a collision at Rockingham Motor Speedway. He had to have surgery on his shoulder, collarbone and ribs.
During the 2009 season, Plato returned to full fitness and took advantage by winning four out of five races he entered. This included the first race back at Oulton Park where he beat current champion Andrew Jordan by just under two seconds.