Gordon Shedden said that he never believed “in his wildest dreams” that he would end the final race of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as champion.
The Scot survived a scare in the final meeting of the season at Brands Hatch GP circuit, forced to defend a 12-point cushion from 19th on the grid in race 30 of the season from Team BMR‘s Jason Plato.
The encounter that followed bulged with tension, as the Honda Yuasa Racing driver survived a trio of safety car interruptions to charge through the field in a miraculous recovery to an eventual finish of fourth spot, adding to his 2012 title win as he became a double BTCC champion.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, an elated Shedden said that he felt it would be an impossible great escape, commenting: “I don’t think there’s a harder way to win it!
“Starting towards the back and with Jason at the front I thought, this isn’t going to work. Jason was on the front row and is really strong round here, so it was always going to be difficult. Especially when I saw him leading, I thought I had my work cut out.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could win it. Absolutely unbelievable. I’ll have number 52 again!”
The hat-trick of safety car interruptions made the race a much more truncated affair than necessary, Shedden only gaining three spots on lap one before finally beginning his surge after the third safety car period concluded.
While title rival Plato romped to an unchallenged sixth victory of the season, the Honda man picked off his competitors one-by-one, evading the late tension of a tight battle with Triple Eight‘s Jack Goff.
Shedden continued: “Three safety cars in one way actually helped bunch everything back up for me, and every safety car I passed somebody going into Paddock.
“I had to go. I just had to get on with it. I’d have rather picked up a puncture or gone off just to win the bloody thing! It’s just what I had to do.
“That was it – I was just desperate to get racing. It probably helped warm the tyres up right and once we got racing again I could just get on with it.”
The final race of the season also showed the racing ability of the double BTCC champion, who reveled in the fact that his Honda Civic Type-R enjoyed a race without any success ballast – Honda also clinching the Manufacturers’ Championship crown.
“People gave me a lot of racing room. You get it in your head that you don’t want to lose it by a point or fastest lap, so I just kept on going.
“That’s the first time all season that we’ve ran with zero ballast, so the car was always going to come alive.”