Gordon Shedden welcomed the challenge of fellow Japanese rivals Subaru ahead of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title defence in 2016.
The Scot will embark on a 10th season with the Dynamics squad in 2016, racing alongside triple champion Matt Neal and the returning Andy Neate at the re-branded Halfords Yuasa Racing outfit.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag on Tuesday’s Media Day (22 March), double BTCC champion Shedden offered praise to the challenge of a fellow Japanese rival in Subaru.
“The more the merrier!” was Shedden’s answer to TCF on the challenge of a new rival outfit.
“It’ll be good and nice to see another mainstream household brand coming into touring cars, because it shows the strength of the series.”
Also feeling the nostalgia of returning title sponsor, Shedden added: “To get Halfords back is a little bit full circle for me because I started with them back in 2006. There’s happy memories, but now it’s the start of a cycle for new technical regs.”
Changes to the series’ technical regulations was been met with a mixed reception from the reigning champion, who believes those that get used to the latest TOCA components could potentially grab an early advantage.
“Yes and no”, Shedden commented. “I think I would have preferred the rules to have stayed the same, because obviously we had a really good package last year.
“Inevitably, someone will get the jump on everybody else because we’re understanding how the new kit works, then it’s everyone else’s job to catch up.
“From my point of view, we’ve got the new engine, let alone the new colour scheme so there’s a lot of new things happening in the garage at the moment.
“I guess we’ll find out as the year goes on.”
Team Dynamics are no stranger to producing race-winning performance quickly from a new machine, as proven from the introduction most recently of the Civic Tourer and latest Civic Type-R model.
Drivers’ Championship success came the way of Dynamics and Shedden during a thrilling 2015 finale at Brands Hatch, but the squad have continued development with an updated engine among the key changes for the coming assault.
“It’s very different”, Shedden commented to TCF on the latest updates to the Type-R. “It sounds like a spitfire!
“It does a very similar thing, but yet in a very different way. It’s totally different to everything else and offers something different for the fans.
“That isn’t a good thing, but certainly isn’t a bad thing. It does take a bit of getting your head around it.”
Shedden clinched the 2015 title away from the brief grasp of long-standing BTCC rival, Jason Plato, who similarly welcomed a potential dice between two Japanese marques in 2016.
Shedden said of Team BMR: “Those guys have been late, but you can see what they’ve already done with the car. They’ve engineered it very well so it will be right there.
“Lots of cars down the pitlane have all got an equal chance on the same tyre. The competition will come thick and fast and we’ve just got to be somewhere in the mix to try and slug it out.”
The four-hour Donington Park test session on Tuesday (22 March) was one of preparation rather than discovering outright pace for the Honda squad, Shedden saying: “A lot of the tests have been pretty weather-disrupted over the winter. The major thing is that we’ve had time to test our reliability with new components.
“We’re not here to break lap records just yet, we’re here to understand the car for the season that lies ahead”