John McGuinness and Gordon Shedden took part in a special event this past week, which saw the pair swap machinery and go head-to-head around the Knockhill circuit.
The unique event, hosted by Dunlop and Honda, saw 23-time Isle of Man TT winner McGuinness swap his Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for Shedden’s Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R.
The two-time British Touring Car champion climbed aboard McGuinness’ fireblade and the pair completed 30 laps of the Scottish circuit.
Swapping machines is no mean feat – to get competitive lap times, they both needed to learn the car and bike respectively in just a handful of laps. During that time, they also had to adjust to the very different tyres that were the only thing between their vehicle and the tarmac.
The two vehicles are very different – the number of wheels aside – but the similarities are the manufacturer brand and tyre manufacturer – Honda and Dunlop.
The sportsmen are different too, but both are at the peak of their sport; capable of using the tyres to their maximum to achieve the best lap times.
Speaking about his experience inside the BTCC car, McGuinness said: “It was brilliant; I didn’t want to get out of the car to be honest. The first session all happened really fast but then I settled down into a groove.
“The whole mindset changes when you swap from what you know to something new, and I was a bit nervous, but we’re all racers and just want to go fast. It’s hard to see the apex, you’re strapped in tight, and it’s quite warm in there.
“You’re breathing in engine fumes and there are lots of rattles and bangs, it’s such a different world but I was shocked by how nice and precise it was.”
Shedden also enjoyed his experience on two-wheels, with the speed of the TT-winning machine leaving a lasting impression on the 37-year-old.
He said: “It was absolutely out of this world, you maybe build a picture of what you think it’s like in your head, but nothing compares to it when you’re out there. It’s phenomenally fast but once you get used to it you learn to relax and get more confident. It was an absolute privilege to have a go.
“It was the first time I’ve ever ridden on a slick tyre and I cannot believe the grip that the contact patch the size of a credit card can actually give you, it’s just absolutely mind blowing.
“The speed obviously is as you’d expect, the world passes by at a million miles an hour. I can only imagine what it’s like going round the TT course, and John is welcome to stay on that!”
While Dunlop or Honda will not be releasing official lap times from the event on Monday, both McGuinness and Shedden were said to be incredibly close to each other’s lap times.