Honda Yuasa Racing‘s all-new Civic Type-R endured teething troubles in Donington Park’s media day test on Tuesday 24 March, but both Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden heaped praise on the updated machine ahead of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season opener.
The duo revealed their striking new challenger on Tuesday in front of the media at the Leicester circuit during the official season launch, Honda’s new Civic Type-R model chosen in favour this year over the Tourer which the Dynamics squad ran in 2014.
Outright pace was not the team’s focus at Donington during the four hours of track time held in changeable conditions, triple BTCC champion Neal ending the day 12th overall in the times while problems restricted Shedden to 18th.
Despite little running for the car so far in the build-up to next week’s season opener on Easter weekend (4/5 April) at Brands Hatch, Neal was left waxing lyrical of the new Honda after managing 35 laps at Donington Park, saying that improvements have been made in all areas.
Neal commented: “First of all, I have to say this car looks mega!
“It’s a completely new animal this year, so this is all a learning curve for us. We’ve essentially been trying to run through a checklist, finding out what works and what doesn’t work and what effect different changes have on the car.
“The bottom line is that this car is an improvement in practically every area over what we’ve run before – and it’s probably the most powerful Honda engine we’ve ever had in the BTCC. Of course, the proof of the pudding will come during qualifying at Brands Hatch – but we’re very confident of mounting a serious challenge this year.”
2012 champion Shedden, who finished third in the 2014 BTCC season thanks to a trio of wins, had his track time limited significantly by throttle problems in the Donington Park test as the second half of the four-hour session approached.
“Like with any new car, we encountered a few shakedown gremlins that limited our running today, but we will work through them”, Shedden said of the issues on Tuesday, although he too added that the Honda outfit can take away many positives ahead of the new season.
“Despite not getting that many laps on the board here, we still learnt a lot and most importantly, the attention-to-detail on the new Civic Type R is fantastic. We are incredibly excited by the potential of this car!”