Former Le Mans Winner and WEC Champion Martin Plowman has been reflecting on a positive first full season in the British GT Championship with Richard Taffinder and RJN Motorsport in the number 53 Nissan 370Z GT4.
The season delivered its fair share of highs and lows for the 53 car, from the pair earning a class victory at Spa Francorchamps to being forced to retire at Donington following liquid on the track as both drivers had shown blistering pace in the early sessions.
Martin had more than his fair share of headlines this season, from the first race at Oulton Park, where Plowman lead with a commanding 5-second lead. He littered the scoresheets with fastest lap times and delivering spectacular races that captivated the spectators including unlapping himself at Brands Hatch, passing the GT4 leaders to get back on the lead lap following a technical issue.
Perhaps the most significant victory of the year is the amount of progress that Richard Taffinder has made. The progress is a testament to Martin’s coaching ability and his highly analytical approach to motorsport. “When analytics are combined with a positive driver attitude and a strong team, it’s amazing the progress that can be made,” Plowman reflected.
Both Plowman and Taffinder have worked extremely hard throughout the year in their preparations. They have had a strict physical regime, employed the services of a human performance coach to fine tune their hydration and pre-race preparation, but perhaps the biggest step was taken by going back to basics.
Martin had a hugely successful kart career, and this is where the pair have found a tremendous amount of pace. Richard Taffinder comments, “Karting has helped me no end this season. It has assisted in my development physically and mentally. There was something really motivating about the honesty of going back to where it all started for Martin, and it helped me break down a few challenges I had been having in the car.”
The 2017 season also saw the UltraTek Racing team move to Nissan with services provided by RJN. Plowman had always had a great relationship with Nissan from his previous sportscar seasons and found everything he was looking for in a team in RJN. Plowman commented, “RJN is a world-class outfit, they have bags of skill and a hugely talented team, plus they have an incredible amount of integrity and a genuine passion for success.” RJN engineered the two-car team faultlessly throughout the season, and their accommodating can-do attitude made the season not only fruitful but also hugely rewarding,
The pen has not yet been put to paper for the 2018 season, but Martin has a clear strategic view of what the team will do next as they head on their way towards Le Mans, “I’m proud of the progress Richard has made, he has made a significant mental breakthrough this season. His performance on the Donington weekend was especially encouraging, his first four laps of the race, typically not his strongest part was phenomenal. It is just a shame that he got caught up in the fluid of the McLaren which prematurely ended his race. It has shown me what he is capable of and we entered the offseason with our heads held high.”
Martin was also clear about his opinions of RJN Motorsport, “We are thrilled with the team’s performance this year, they are a great bunch of guys, and we have wanted for nothing. I’d especially like to mention Bob Neville, I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for his ability and experience, plus he is without a doubt one of the most genuine and sincere guys you could wish to work with, we can’t wait for 2018.”
The team are finalising their plans for 2018 and will release details in the coming months.