Former British Touring Car Championship champion Gordon Shedden says that the works Honda squad’s newest Civic Tourer will offer a fresh challenge in what could potentially be an even tougher title fight in 2014.
Honda Yuasa Racing‘s new Honda Civic Tourer model appeared at the Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC Arena, and 2012 BTCC champion Shedden said that testing of the manufacturer’s newest touring car will be vital for himself and team-mate Matt Neal to get their heads around the striking machine in what he feels will be an exciting season.
Speaking to thecheckeredflag about the much-anticipated new Tourer model, Shedden said the switch will provide a welcome challenge, commenting: “It’s something different to throw into the mix. The new Tourer looks fantastic and it will certainly be very visible on track. Hopefully she’s a winner soon rather than later.
“In terms of how it is going to go, I couldn’t honestly tell you. It will look okay on the computers, but until you’re actually sat in the thing then it’s difficult to know.
“It is definitely going to change it because of all the extra metal that’s behind the rear axle. That’s something we’ve got to deal with and try to control, which is obviously why we need to go pre-season testing to make the best of it.”
The car has been compared relentlessly with the last estate racer to compete in the series – the 1994 Volvo 850 – Shedden simply stating: “That was an iconic car, and that’s 20 years ago now!”
The Scot missed out on defending his crown by just seven points in a tense finale at Brands Hatch last October, but emphasised both his and team-mate Neal’s continuity which has been one of the strongest in recent years.
“It’s a new car, but we’ve got a lot of continuity with Matt [Neal] and myself having worked together for a long time as team-mates, the same engineers and same mechanics, so we’ve got a very close team which is where our strength has been over the last couple of years”, Shedden added.
“Sometimes we’ve not been the fastest or been the most spectacular, but as a team generally operated better than others. Obviously with the new car we need to develop it pretty quickly.
“I had far too many non-finishes last season; to finish seven points behind I guess showed how competitive I had been in the other 25 races. I had more podiums than anybody else, but like in all sports you need a bit of luck because you can’t win them all.
With at least 32 cars expected to be on the grid in 2014, Shedden was delighted with the current health of the BTCC, concluding: “I think it’s good because Touring Cars needs to continue to be the pinnacle of British motorsport. It needs to be hard and it needs to be difficult to win it, because that’s the challenge of it.”