Ash Sutton joins Jason Plato and James Cole at Subaru

Two Levorgs in 2016 (Photo by Marc Waller)Subaru Team BMR have announced three quarters of their drivers for the 2017 BTCC season with Ash Sutton joining the team from MG alongside Jason Plato and James Cole.

The team will once again be using the Subaru Levorg GT.

Sutton moves to the Subaru after an excellent first season in the BTCC with MG. He won the Jack Sears trophy for being the best Rookie and from taking fourth on his debut, he remained a front runner all season taking his first win in the wet at Croft during race three.

He also scored two other podiums as well as two poles and two fastest laps.

“I am over the moon to be offered such a great opportunity,” said a very happy Sutton. “I joined the Team BMR Academy at the end of 2014, signing a two-year deal to race in the Renault UK Clio Cup, with a view to working our way up through the 2015/16 seasons.”

“Not for one second did I think that two years down the line I would be a part of the BMR factory team; let alone with a BTCC Manufacturer like Subaru. I thought I had hit the jackpot in my debut season in securing a Manufacturer drive; but now being a part of Subaru, and the package that comes with that, has certainly topped it for me.

“Last year I accomplished all of the personal goals I had set for myself. I know that 2017 is going to be hard, but I feel I have all the correct tools to move those goal posts and set myself some bigger challenges. Going into the final round in with a shot for the championship is the biggest aim – but this is the pinnacle of British motorsport, it’s the British Touring Car Championship, so I know it’s not going to come easy!”

He also spoke about moving to rear wheel drive and what he thought about working with Jason Plato;

“I have been asked what my thoughts are on jumping into a rear wheel drive car and to be completely honest I am I’m going back to my roots. I have only had two years in front-wheel drive throughout my whole racing career, so I can’t wait to be back where I belong. I’m looking forward to the intense testing programme we have planned.

“Working alongside Jason, someone I have always looked up to, is something of an added bonus for me. There are three things that have made this Academy journey come alive, those being; my family, all my loyal sponsors, and Warren Scott himself for giving me this opportunity. All I can say now is, roll on Brands Hatch!”

Plato starts his third consecutive year with the team and this season will be his twentieth year in the BTCC having first entered back in 1997.

Sutton after taking his first win in 2016 (Photo by Marc Waller) The teams 2016 line up - Sutton now replaces Turkington but the fourth seat remains a mystery for now (Photo by Marc Waller)

 

 

 

Jason is the most successful driver in the BTCC in terms of results and last season saw him add to his impressive results with podiums, a pole position and a win in his 500th BTCC race, which was the 95th win of his career. If the Subaru starts 2017 the way it ended 2016, there's a real chance of him reaching 100 race wins during the season. Plato certainly thinks he'll have a good season;

“I predict 2017 will bring much success, I’m energised and looking forward to fighting for the championship,” said Plato. “Our team goes from strength to strength. We have a fantastic new addition to the squad in young Ash Sutton, I’m certainly expecting him to be right in the thick of the action. Testing begins in two weeks and I can’t wait.”

James Cole joined BMR in 2016 and now starts his fifth season in the BTCC. Cole has already been testing the Subaru over the winter;

“Winter testing was a revelation. I worked with Jason’s engineer, Carl Faux, and wow, it felt like I was in a racing car again. It just felt right – the balance, my confidence. I can’t wait to get back in the car and build on what I learned in testing. I need to deliver for the team and myself. Jason and Ash are quality team mates and I relish the challenge to work and compete with them and help Team BMR to win championships in 2017.”

Warren Scott drove the fourth car last season but the team have so far not officially said who will be in the fourth car other than to say an announcement will be made in the coming weeks.By Marc Waller 

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