Sam Tordoff says he felt “proud” of his 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, despite missing out on a maiden Drivers’ Championship title by just two points to Gordon Shedden.
The West Surrey Racing driver had entered the season finale at Brands Hatch GP circuit with an 11-point lead over his Halfords Yuasa Racing rival, but results of 10th and two fifth place finishes were not quite enough to deny Shedden a third BTCC title in Kent.
A cutback move by the Scot exiting Clearways on lap seven of the final race dealt the decisive damage to Tordoff’s title chances, the BMW 125i driver saying that he felt he did not have the pace on the day to challenge the Honda Civic Type-R.
Despite the outcome, Tordoff remained both gracious in defeat and carrying a sense of personal pride for coming so close, WSR clinching both Teams’ and Manufacturers’ Championship honours.
“Disappointed, but I’m still happy”, was Tordoff’s gallant response to The Checkered Flag afterwards. “Apart from that, I’m still very happy with what we’ve achieved.
“Honestly, in hindsight I really didn’t think we had the pace. We struggled from start to finish.
“I think we maximised qualifying, maximised race one and then when we took the weight out we went from 10th to fifth in race two. It was all looking really good. Unfortunately in race three, I think it was just glaringly obvious for everyone to see that I just didn’t have the pace and Shedden did.”
Tordoff also was quick to show his gratitude to the overall champion afterwards, congratulating rival Shedden prior to the final podium presentation.
On his battles with Shedden in 2016, the WSR driver added: “Fair play; we’ve not had a bad day, it’s just that Gordon has had a better one and in the end, the best man won.
“It has [been a clean fight] and that’s how I drive. I don’t crash into people. It’s been a good season and I’m really happy with how it’s been.”
The Leeds racer took pride from his attack on the Drivers’ Championship in 2016, his fourth BTCC season in a series he has finished no lower than seventh in the points since his 2013 debut with Triple Eight Engineering.
One thing that he told TCF he has on his side is time, adding: “It wasn’t to be this time, but I’ve certainly got time on my hands.
“We’ve jumped to the next level and firmly established ourselves as championship contenders, but I can be proud. The guy that pipped me is vastly experienced and a three-time champion.
“In the four seasons I’ve done this, I haven’t finished worse than seventh. I think I belong at this level and I feel I’m getting better and better. I’m really proud with what has happened this year.”
Attention shifts to plans for 2017 in the winter period, Tordoff yet to have put pen to paper on a BTCC deal as of Sunday evening.
“We’ve not talked to anyone with regards to 2017”, he concluded. “I have no idea what I’ll be doing – from racing in Formula 1 to not racing at all!”
STAT ATTACK: Shedden v Tordoff in 2016:
|Gordon Shedden||Sam Tordoff|