Jason Plato is to make a dramatic return to the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship for the opening round of the 2009 season at Brands Hatch after teaming up with RML.
The 2001 champion will run in a Chevrolet Lacetti after a late deal was struck with the team behind Chevrolet's works programme in the World Touring Car Championship and comes after he looked like being forced to sit out the 2009 campaign following the withdrawal of SEAT from the series at the end last season.
As well as bringing one of the big name drivers back into the field, the deal will also see RML return to the fray having won multiple championships during the Super Touring era of the 1990's, when it was responsible for the factory programmes of both Vauxhall and then Nissan.
"This was too good an opportunity to miss. The BTCC has played such an important role in my life so being at Brands Hatch is hugely important to me personally. Whether my being there makes Fabrizio look over his shoulder I don't know - all I know is that my job is not to make it easy for him, or indeed for any other driver on the grid.
"At the moment, we don't know how long we'll be around. We're trying tremendously hard behind the scenes to put together a full programme for 2009. Right now, I'm just very excited to be teaming back up with some good friends and respected colleagues at RML.”
Plato will go into the season-opener without any time in the car, but said he was confident that the team would quickly get up to speed.
"We are so going into this as the underdogs, without a shadow of a doubt,” he said. “But I've got great confidence in RML's abilities to engineer a racing car and I've got to draw upon all my experience because I'm probably going to be a bit rusty. If we can get within 20 per cent of what Brawn GP did in Melbourne then we'll be doing well. We're certainly not there to make up the numbers.
"We'll be going into this with no running, except for a shakedown. All the BTCC cars run on Dunlop tyres and fine-tuning the Chevrolet so it gets the most out of them in the limited time we will have available is going to be a considerable hurdle. We just don't know how it's going to react so let's just see what develops. If there's anyone who can get to the bottom of any problems we find quickly, then it's RML."