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Old 7 Jun 2011, 12:49 (Ref:2892786)   #1
Jason Plato
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Jason Plato should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Please everyone, let's be factual

Dear All,

In an attempt to stop the ridiculous totally inaccurate banter that frequents the forums, would you all please read and understand the following facts before making any further silly posts. You are all perfectly entitled to have your own opinions, however these must be based on facts rather than total bias to whoever you may or may not be supporting.

1. There were NO equivalency regulations regarding the Turbo Diesels in 2008. Those regulations had been available for any team or manufacturer to adopt years prior to 2008.
SEAT Sport believed they could gain an advantage and invested many millions over many years developing the Diesel engine. I repeat, there were NO equivalency regulations in place.

2. Turbo Diesels have been banned in the BTCC from 2009 because of the performance advantage they have.

3. TOCA made a promise to all the teams and drivers prior to the 2011 season that there will be performance parity between turbo and normally aspirated engines for the 2011 and 2012 BTCC seasons. One of the main reasons for this was asset protection. For the 2013 season onwards, the performance of the turbo engines will be turned up and normally aspirated engines will become uncompetitive.

4. The definition of Parity is: [Encarta English Dictionary]
1. Equality - equality of.
2. Similarity between things - the quality of being similar or identical.

5. The BTCC Series Director stated publically on 21st April …
“This year all NGTC engines (turbo) have a significantly revised turbo system, which has changed their engine performance/characteristics.” When compared to 2010.

6. The Series Director stated publically on 18th April …
“Clearly we have always stated that there should be performance parity between the two types (normally aspirated and turbo) for the next two seasons. That is not an issue and is a policy known and agreed by every team - and one we have publicly stated many times over the last 18 months. In very simple terms; the performance of the fastest/best of each type should be comparable for 2011 and 2012 – of course given that they are of a comparable level of quality of driver/team/car/preparation”

7. The teams that have not adopted turbo engines early (before 2013) have every right to demand performance parity. It has been promised by TOCA prior to and during the 2011 season.

8. As a professional driver, with many years of BTCC experience, I have a duty to myself, my team, my sponsors and investors to make complaint when promises and/or agreements are not being honoured. I also, as a human being, have the right to respond to unfounded public criticism.

9. If there had been NO promises of performance parity between the two engine types by TOCA I would have no complaint.

For the record, if my complaints and opinions which are based on facts and data (of which a fraction of, I have shared with you above) has caused offence, then as a gentlemen I apologise. However, I trust that if you read and understand the above points you will agree, I have a very valid complaint.
I hope this will put an end to the churlish forum banter.

Sincerely,


Jason Plato
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 12:57 (Ref:2892799)   #2
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Agreed, they promised parity, and from what we have seen, there's very little of it.

John
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 13:21 (Ref:2892823)   #3
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Thanks for setting out your position so clearly, Jason. I didn't make it to rainy Oulton, but that meant I did get to see your post race interview - and I'm sure everyone watching on ITV4 could see that what you said came from the heart.

I think one of the key elements of your argument is this - if TOCA hadn't claimed there would be parity, then there wouldn't be a problem. The issue is that they did claim exactly that, and are now hiding when it turns out not to be the case.

I've seen the argument that it only appears to be Team Honda who have a race changing advantage - to the extent that it makes me wonder what they're doing that other teams aren't (don't worry, I don't expect you to answer that! ) - but it doesn't take a genius to realise how the Vectras are also doing so well ... with no disrespect to the talents of Nash and Jordan who are both excellent peddlers.

I have no fundamental argument against there being two classes of car in BTCC. But if that's the case, let's have some honesty from TOCA!
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 15:13 (Ref:2892901)   #4
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steve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Seems to me that only the 2 Hondas had any significant performance advantage over the Chevvy at Oulton. The fact that Matt Neal could simply drive straight past JP down the relatuively short straight is alarming.

But seeing as we are takling about facts, the Qualifying times top 10:

1. Gordon Shedden Honda Racing Team Honda Civic 1min 27.355secs
2. Matt Neal Honda Racing Team Honda Civic 1min 27.505secs
3. Andy Neate Team Aon 'Global' Ford Focus 1min 27.778secs
4. Jason Plato Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1min 27.782secs
5. Andrew Jordan Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra 1min 27.914secs
6. Tom Chilton Team Aon 'Global' Ford Focus 1min 28.044secs
7. Alex MacDowall Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1min 28.091secs
8. Paul O'Neill GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruze 1min 28.278secs
9. James Nash 888 Racing with Collins Contractors Vauxhall Vectra 1min 28.319secs
10. Mat Jackson Airwaves Racing Ford Focus 1min 28.445secs

Although we all got the impression that the Hondas could have gone quicker, I'm sure most the other turbo cars were flat out, and the lap times for 2 Ford Focus's, 2 Chevvys and Jordans Vectra were all within 0.3 of a second of each other.

So, do the Vectras, Focus and other turbo cars that qualifyed behind the non-turbo Chevrolet have to be further restricted? That does not seem quite right, surely?
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 15:28 (Ref:2892907)   #5
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The Hondas have a performance advantage over everyone - not just the Chevy. Which is where the problem lies - if you peg back the turbo engined cars then you're penalising a whole bunch of cars that are already off the ultimate pace. If you only penalise Honda then you're effectively penalising them for having done the best job of building a car to the rules available.

As far as i can see the cars that actually need a break are the full NGTC cars (although to be fair it may simply be the case that they need budget and testing time).
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 15:35 (Ref:2892909)   #6
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I think it's disingenuous to pick out figures for Oulton, arguably the tightest circuit on the calendar, especially given this weekend's conditions.

Around the whole circuit, the difference clearly wasn't that great - but that doesn't alter the fact that a car that supposedly has parity with another car simply shouldn't be able to cruise around the outside and take its place down the pit straight/into Old Hall, or gain several car lengths in a simple drag race from Island over Hill Top.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 16:03 (Ref:2892925)   #7
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The Hondas have a performance advantage over everyone - not just the Chevy. Which is where the problem lies - if you peg back the turbo engined cars then you're penalising a whole bunch of cars that are already off the ultimate pace. If you only penalise Honda then you're effectively penalising them for having done the best job of building a car to the rules available.
And this to me is the key, parity does NOT mean the best NA should automatically be as quick as the best turbo, it's very clear Honda have nailed something here and just being an NA team shouldn't be a passport to the same performance they have.

Chevy are ahead of 10 turbo packages and behind 1, technically parity should see them moved down. Until this round when the Audi started to get its act together and Chris James fell back, the slowest car was almost always a turbo.

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As far as i can see the cars that actually need a break are the full NGTC cars (although to be fair it may simply be the case that they need budget and testing time).
Well that's the thing, if the Chevy as the fastest NA should be given breaks until it's level with the Honda, then surely the NGTCs should be given whatever they need to lap as quick as the Hondas too under that basis (Although I'm not sure what parity was promised to the NGTC).

Ultimately promising parity really is a losing battle, because there's not "Turbos and NAs", there's Hondas and Vauxhalls and 2 different kinds of Chevy and 2 different kinds of Toyota and no less than 3 kinds of car now running the same VW derived NGTC motor.

Jason has won 4/12 this year, admittedly once through hilarious dumb luck, more than any other driver. It can't be THAT bad.

And actually that's the other problem. There's 1 standout NA car, with 2 others slightly behind. There are, from Croft, at least 6 very good Turbos. If NA is good, Jason will probably win. If Turbo is good, any one of 6 could. Technically proper parity hands the championship straight to the #1 car.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 16:08 (Ref:2892927)   #8
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but that doesn't alter the fact that a car that supposedly has parity with another car simply shouldn't be able to cruise around the outside and take its place down the pit straight/into Old Hall, or gain several car lengths in a simple drag race from Island over Hill Top.
Thing is, I bet the RML Cruzes could do that to Chris James too (And indeed the Hondas could do that just as easily to the VW, and they definitely have rules parity... There's a danger of penalising Honda Racing just for doing a bloody good job.

And Jason, don't take it personally, warranted or otherwise, it's just amusing. These are exactly the same people who'd refer to "**** Neal"
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 16:12 (Ref:2892928)   #9
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I don't think anyone is trying to say that the best NA should have the same lap pace as the best turbo - this is purely about parity in terms of straight line power. A brief glimpse at BTCC over recent years shows there is always a huge difference in overall lap pace between the best and worst cars, even when they had the same power.

If the Hondas happen to have by far the best set up and therefore the best lap and race pace - as the triple 8 Vx's did a year or two ago - that's fine and dandy. But if there is meant to be performance parity they still shouldn't be able to outdrag and simply drive by a NA car so ridiculously easily.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 16:20 (Ref:2892934)   #10
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I don't think anyone is trying to say that the best NA should have the same lap pace as the best turbo - this is purely about parity in terms of straight line power. A brief glimpse at BTCC over recent years shows there is always a huge difference in overall lap pace between the best and worst cars, even when they had the same power.

If the Hondas happen to have by far the best set up and therefore the best lap and race pace - as the triple 8 Vx's did a year or two ago - that's fine and dandy. But if there is meant to be performance parity they still shouldn't be able to outdrag and simply drive by a NA car so ridiculously easily.
But there are turbo cars that the Cruze can drive past just as easily. How do you draw the line between Honda doing a bloody good job (that team has won championships when there was no parity in anything after all). (Not pretending to have the answer to that btw).

There's also the consideration that any change you make here also prejudices some very interesting midfield fights between Techspeed/WSR (NA) and Aon/Motorbase/Triple8/Eurotech (Turbo) as well.

Oulton is a weird case though, especially in the wet. No-one seriously believes for instance that the Central Group Integra (a NA car of coure), with 50kg extra in the back is actually as quick as the Civic, but it drove past Neal in race 1.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 17:22 (Ref:2892972)   #11
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gregc should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridgregc should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
All the stuff I was going to say about Honda vs the other turbos has been mentioned already, they have clearly found something that the other turbo teams haven't (and my guess is it's down to the fact that they built two new chassis, designed around the turbo engine from the ground up, while the other teams are using old chassis and trying to accommodate the engine via setup). I would add one other thing - Jason is not the only one that Matt cruised past on a straight in race 2. He did the same thing to Andy Jordan (turbo, remember...) between the hairpin and Knickerbrook, and was comfortably ahead going into the chicane.

I still, personally, believe that we don't quite have the parity we should, but I equally don't think the picture is anywhere near as extreme as JP painted it in his post-race 2 comments. I can understand the frustration but to make extravagant claims like that based on one overtake in half-and-half conditions isn't really on.

TOCA have a real problem here, as has already been said. Most of the turbo cars are pretty evenly matched, but Dynamics have built a car that, for now at least, seems to be in a different league. How do you then judge equalisation against the NA cars? Normally I'd say you have to treat the Honda as the exception and balance against the rest of the field, but the statement of "the performance of the fastest/best of each type should be comparable" leaves them in an impossible situation to my mind.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 17:56 (Ref:2892987)   #12
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steve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridsteve_r should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
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I think it's disingenuous to pick out figures for Oulton, arguably the tightest circuit on the calendar, especially given this weekend's conditions.
Well we HAVE to look at Oulton figures because none of the other races have been run under the amended ballasts.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 19:17 (Ref:2893035)   #13
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Bomber604 should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Jason, Firstly thanks for taking the time to come on here & state your case so clearly for the benefit of genuine enthusiasts.

As a racing driver myself (albeit on a much lower level) I understand the frustration felt when there is deemed to be an unfair advantage toward some teams/drivers whether it be through alleged cheating or issues with the policing of regs etc.

I think the main reason people are jumping on the bandwagon to criticize you is because of your passionate post race comments on camera.

Whilst most racers will appreciate how you feel when you're fresh out of the car, full of adrenaline & angry because of the obvious performance differential between N/A & Turbo cars, It does make for somewhat contraversial viewing & it's too easy for the non-initiated to see it as sour grapes.

Best of luck for the rest of the season.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 19:58 (Ref:2893055)   #14
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And this to me is the key, parity does NOT mean the best NA should automatically be as quick as the best turbo, it's very clear Honda have nailed something here and just being an NA team shouldn't be a passport to the same performance they have.

Chevy are ahead of 10 turbo packages and behind 1, technically parity should see them moved down. Until this round when the Audi started to get its act together and Chris James fell back, the slowest car was almost always a turbo.



Well that's the thing, if the Chevy as the fastest NA should be given breaks until it's level with the Honda, then surely the NGTCs should be given whatever they need to lap as quick as the Hondas too under that basis (Although I'm not sure what parity was promised to the NGTC).

Ultimately promising parity really is a losing battle, because there's not "Turbos and NAs", there's Hondas and Vauxhalls and 2 different kinds of Chevy and 2 different kinds of Toyota and no less than 3 kinds of car now running the same VW derived NGTC motor.

Jason has won 4/12 this year, admittedly once through hilarious dumb luck, more than any other driver. It can't be THAT bad.

And actually that's the other problem. There's 1 standout NA car, with 2 others slightly behind. There are, from Croft, at least 6 very good Turbos. If NA is good, Jason will probably win. If Turbo is good, any one of 6 could. Technically proper parity hands the championship straight to the #1 car.
Exactly, the problem with trying to promise parity is that the organisers are trying to serve everyone's interest - parity is never going to be fully achieved with different engines such as these at present.

The other point is important too - how do we know how much of that advantage is purely down to Turbo power? Of course an enormous amount of it undoubtedly is, but when you start taking away an advantage earned through pure hard work that's just as "unequal" and "unfair" and no matter where they stand in the championship. I'd go so far as to say I would be more angry if the car that is clearest the best out there (and not just for turbo reasons) was pegged down so much that it wasn't the fastest out there, when hard work is just turned down arbitrarily.

I think that actually if we are to base any arguments purely on "facts" I'd say that the closeness of the Chevy and other NA cars to the front-running cars, as well as being ahead of so many other turbo cars like has already been mentioned, would to me suggest there is performance parity. The only reason this is an issue is because of subjective, not objective concerns on both sides as to how fast the cars should be compared to each other - they will never be exactly the same and will never have "parity".

Last edited by dyewat808; 7 Jun 2011 at 20:07.
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Old 7 Jun 2011, 20:37 (Ref:2893071)   #15
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Having watched that race over and over again it seems obvious what the problem is!

The turbo cars are NOT quick!
The Hondas are VERY quick!

This has nothing to do with rules, if it was then the Chevys would be 8th not 3-4th.

I understand your frustration Jason but how do you justify giving every Turbo team a penalty because you cannot beat the Honda. You are already beating these other teams if you make them slower it will be stupidly unfair.

If the argument is that the Hondas need a penalty then the suggestion that rules parity is the issue is rubbish. We can have it every way, either it is the Hondas or it is the rules, all evidence seems to point to it being the Hondas.

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