British Touring Car Championship star Jason Plato will drive a Vauxhall Astra for Power Maxed Racing in the series this year.
The double champion has claimed a record 97 BTCC race wins during his 21-year career, and won his first title at the wheel of a works Vauxhall Astra Coupe in 2001. Plato, 51, joins PMR after three seasons racing a Team BMR Subaru Levorg.
The Warwickshire-based Power Maxed squad has raced in the BTCC for five seasons, and claimed its first race wins last year with Senna Proctor and Josh Cook.
“Power Maxed is still a relatively young outfit in the BTCC, but there is a strong team of very experienced and talented personnel behind the scenes,” said Plato. “Their collective ambition, motivation and desire to win their first championship made this the perfect opportunity for me.”
Power Maxed team boss Adam Weaver said the team had conducted extensive testing with its Astra over the winter and made “significant developments in carefully selected areas”. He added: “The signing of a proven champion and race winner fits perfectly with our stated ambition to win the championship in our fifth season.”
Plato entered the BTCC in a Williams-run Renault Laguna in 1997, claiming a pair of wins in his rookie season. After clinching the title with Vauxhall in 2001, he was a key part of Seat’s works team between 2004 and 2008, before taking his second title behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Cruze in 2010. Plato failed to win a race in his Levorg last season, his first winless season in the BTCC.
Power Maxed has yet to confirm who will partner Plato this season. Proctor will replace Plato at BMR, while Cook will switch to BTC Racing to drive a Honda Civic Type R.
The 2019 BTCC season starts at Brands Hatch on 6/7 April.