Honda have confirmed they will run an NGTC version of its new Civic Tourer in the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship for works drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden.
The championship-winning manufacturer will continue to run the same partnership with Team Dynamics and champion drivers Neal and Shedden for 2014, but will switch their Honda Civic to an eye-catching Tourer version of the Type-R model for next season.
Phil Crossman, Managing Director at Honda (UK) said: “We wanted to add a new challenge to the mix and really show what Honda and the team can do. By racing the new Tourer after several years with the Civic hatchback we can really showcase our growing range and demonstrate that the versatility and practicality of a Tourer doesn’t compromise dynamic performance.
“We are only four months away from the start of the 2014 season and I can’t wait to see the cars out on the track. They’re going to look great and there’s no doubt in my mind that they will win races.”
Both Shedden and Neal have conducted a small amount of preliminary tests already with the new Honda Tourer BTCC car, before a full first series of shakedowns begin for the Dynamics squad in January to prepare for the new season which begins on 29/30 March.
The machine is a bold change for the works Yuasa Racing team, both drivers remain fully confident that there is nothing to lose for the team moving to a new machine when their plethora of BTCC success with the four-time championship-winning squad in brought into context.
Shedden, who missed out on the 2013 title by just seven points, said: “Of course it was disappointing not to retain the drivers title but we’re looking forward to what I’m sure will be a strong year for the team in 2014 – and more excitingly, with a new car.
“It might be a Tourer, but it’s still a Civic, the car that has won every championship in BTCC for the last three seasons. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next season, and to seeing what the Tourer can do on race day.”
His team-mate Neal added: “We’re all confident that the car can continue the long-standing success of the Civic in the championship and very much looking forward to putting it through its paces. Although we’re racing a new model, the inherent advantages of the Civic hatchback from the past two years remain so there’s no reason why this car can’t be a winner straight out of the box. We’ll be testing the car early in the new year and I can’t wait to see it on track.”
The move brings back echoes of the 1994 British Touring Car Championship, when Volvo famously ran an eye-catching estate version of their 850 model for Rickard Rydell and Jan Lammers.
Independent squad Pirtek Racing meanwhile will continue to run a pair of hatchback Civic models for reigning champion Jordan and his new team-mate for 2014, set to be announced as Volkswagen Cup racer Martin Depper.
(Main photo credit: btcc.net)