If you, like us, were wondering how MG managed to snag Jason Plato away from Chevrolet in the British Touring Car Championship, well you had good reason to wonder. The racecar driver and Fifth Gear co-host had, after all, driven the factory-backed team to both titles in 2010 and landed himself third and his team second just this past season. But you can wonder no more, as the latest news from the BTCC paddock is that Chevrolet has withdrawn from the popular saloon racing series.
The news arrives as a bit of a surprise coming from the front-running team, particularly at a time when the grid has expanded enormously in the past couple of seasons. The reason? According to Autosport, Chevrolet wants to focus its energies on the World Touring Car Championship, where the same outfit RML that ran the BTCC team fields similar Cruze touring cars – driven by Yvan Muller, Rob Huff and Alain Menu – with considerable success: The RML Chevrolet team has claimed both the drivers' and constructors' titles for the past two seasons running, making it something like the Red Bull Racing of touring cars.
A longtime competitor in the BTCC, RML reportedly hopes it won't be long before it is back on the grid in the British series, and given that most of the cars in the championship are fielded by privateer teams, we wouldn't be surprised to see them return as early as next year. In the meantime, General Motors will be well represented in the series by Vauxhall.