Jason Plato believes the British Touring Car Championship is just as strong a series now as it was in its 1990s heyday.
The 42-year-old, who joined the BTCC in 1997 during its Super Touring era reckons the reduced manufacturer entries in recent years have made it a more open series for drivers.
"There were great days in the 1990s when we had a lot of manufacturers," Plato said at AUTOSPORT International. "But looking back with hindsight, we wasted a lot of money and it wasn't sustainable.
"The racing itself I honestly believe is just as good, if not better, now. Privateers, of which I was one last year, can compete on an equal playing field and – if they do a good job – win. And I think that has to be a good thing."
Plato finished runner-up to Colin Turkington and ahead of Fabrizio Giovanardi in the three-way title fight in 2009 which went down to the final race.