Sunday, 8.30am - When I arrive at the Team BMR pit garage, it is already bustling with activity. The disappointment over the previous day’s qualifying is palpable. Jason Plato will start from 10th position on the grid for the opening race and Aron Smith in eighth, with Colin Turkington settling for sixth.
The team’s fourth driver, Warren Scott, fractured two vertebrae in a heavy accident during practice and is forced to miss the business end of the weekend as a result.
These Silverstone races are huge for Team BMR. Plato and Turkington are both still in with a shout of the title, but Honda’s Gordon Shedden leads the championship. Plato and Turkington need some big points today.
Outside the team garage, I meet Carl Faux, Jason Plato’s race engineer, who breaks down his team’s roles to me. Plato is the driver, Faux describes himself as “in charge of pace”, Darren Sunley sorts out the tyres and mechanic Brenton Yule works with three other mechanics, who take direction from him.
9.15am - Plato is outside the team truck, which is directly opposite the pit garage. He’s in a jovial mood, bouncing around, talking to team members, showing them memes on his phone and discussing jet engines for an upcoming project. We talk about how he prepares himself for races.
“I don’t have any rituals,” he says, besides an essential toilet break an hour before the first race. “I don’t want to get myself too pumped up and over-think things; I just wait for the first warm-up lap and that really gets me in the zone.”
We walk through the garage past the team’s Volkswagen CC race cars and look out to the hordes of spectators waiting for an autograph. I leave Plato to it.
10.00am - Faux ushers me into the team truck and the whole team – including Plato, Turkington and Smith – packs in to discuss strategy. It’s rare for anyone outside of the team to be allowed in here.
Engineers huddle around laptops and performance graphs are passed around for the drivers to examine. They offer feedback to the team on the set-up changes they’d like on their cars.
The atmosphere is initially light-hearted, with Plato leading a sing-along to Elton John’s Rocket Man, but then it’s down to business.
They discuss when the drivers should do their fast lap. Planning it is important, because your position on the grid for race two is determined by your fastest lap in the first race, not where you finish. The drivers agree not to hold each other up and that the place to let a team-mate overtake is under the bridge. The sign that they’ll let them pass will be a tap on the brakes.