Silverline Chevrolet Confirm their return in BTCC 2011
Defending champions, RML Silverline-Chevrolet have confirmed they will make their much anticipated return this year to the UK's favourite motor racing series, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. With the ever-popular pairing of last year's champion Jason Plato and rising star Alex MacDowall officially signed up, the team is looking ahead with excitement to the opening round which takes place at Brands Hatch in less than three weeks on 2nd & 3rd April.
Joining the field again this year is the fiercely competitive RML-run Silverline Chevrolet Cruze which will appear in a different guise as Jason and Alex get to grips with the 2010 WTCC chassis, as raced to Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles with Yvan Muller, Rob Huff, Alain Menu and RML – the touring car giants of the modern era - in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The Wellingborough-based squad has yet to unveil the striking 2011 challenger in full livery with the complete group of partners, which will take place at the BTCC Media Day, Silverstone, on 24th March. But a successful test on the Brands Hatch Indy track last week alongside other series' front-runners saw the Cruzes run for the first time on UK soil in BTCC trim since their return from Macau last December.
The team is confident they've got the package to beat with Jason, Alex and a technically advanced Silverline Chevrolet Cruze that looks set to be even more impressive on track than its predecessor.
Jason Plato: “I’m delighted to once again be working with Silverline Chevrolet and RML. The team proved last year that it could provide the hardware to win the championship, and, with a newer and more advanced development of the already incredible Chevrolet Cruze to campaign with, I expect we’ll be in for a dramatic and exciting season.”
On his title hopes for 2011, Jason adds: “Will I win the championship again? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was possible – but there are some other good teams out there who have come on leaps and bounds since last year, meaning we’re in for one of the most competitive seasons ever – great news for fans of the best racing series in the UK, and for the drivers who compete in it. It’s going to be a thriller.”
With less than a month to go before the season kicks off, last year's fans' favourite for 'Rookie of the Year', Alex MacDowall, himself a pole-sitter and podium visitor in 2010 is on fighting form ahead of what will be only his second season in the BTCC. He says: “Last year was a big learning curve for me. I achieved some great results and in 2011 I’m confident I can really build on that and achieve my first BTCC win, especially with a car as good as the Cruze, a team as professional as RML and a team mate as experienced as Jason to work alongside.”
RML CEO, Ray Mallock: "The 2011 season will be a very exciting one for RML as we return to defend our titles in the BTCC, WTCC and Le Mans Series. Looking ahead to the BTCC, we welcome continued support from Silverline, Chevrolet UK and ECM as we enter with the ex-WTCC 2010 Cruzes in the BTCC series this year – which are of course proven championship winners on the world stage. I’ve no doubt that we are in for a tough battle to defend our title, however, I am confident that with such a committed team at RML and with Jason and Alex on board we can achieve our goal of championship success in both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles.”
Silverline Director, Darrell Morris said: ‘’Silverline are delighted to confirm our continued partnership with Chevrolet and RML for the coming BTCC season. Last year we had the perfect end to a thrilling season, with our lead driver, Jason Plato, clinching the championship ahead of stiff competition. We fully expect the coming season to be just as competitive and just as exciting. But we’re confident we can bring home the Championship title once again in 2011 and are raring to get back on the grid for the first race on Sunday 3rd April. Let battle commence!’’
Chevrolet UK Managing Director, Mark Terry, concludes: “In 2011, Chevrolet celebrates its centenary year and, right from the start, racing has been part of the brand’s DNA. Having won the drivers championship in our first full year – a truly remarkable achievement – we’re back for more in 2011’’.