Neal set for record breaking 30th season in BTCC

by Samuel Gill

Matt Neal has confirmed that he will be returning to the British Touring Car Championship in 2020 for a record-breaking thirtieth season, the most of any driver in the history of the championship.

Neal is a triple BTCC champion during those 30 years as well as a record-breaking six-time Independents Champion and the 53-year-old will once again take to the wheel as he hunts a fourth title.

Joining Dan Cammish again, the Halfords Yuasa Racing drivers’ hunger still remains and his main aim is to challenge for the title again and especially Colin Turkington. He also has teased fans with the possibility that this record-breaking season could be his last.

“I can’t believe it’s my 30th year! It seems like only yesterday that I was competing in my first Championship race and winning my first race and that now-famous £250,000 cheque.  There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years, but the positives far out way the negatives,” said Neal.

“The Championship continues to grow in stature, both in the UK and on a world platform and I take my hat off to Alan Gow for making that happen.  The evolving regulations and the adoption of new technologies, like hybrid, fills me with excitement for what is coming downstream.”

Matt Neal BTCC
Credit: Halfords Yuasa Racing Press Office

“Personally, I look back on my years in the BTCC and reflect a little on what could have been, several years I’ve missed out on the Championship title by only a few points, but that’s racing for you!

But overall I look back with a wry grin on my face and feel honoured to have raced against some of the best drivers in the World, Nigel Mansell, Derek Warwick, Andy Rouse, Steve Soper, Yvan Muller and of course Jason (Plato),  there are just too many to mention, but we have been graced with some amazing names and personalities over the years and I have gone head to head with them all.”

“I go into 2020 as hungry as ever to win my 4th BTCC title and take it to Colin (Turkington), and of course my own teammate Dan (Cammish), who continues to impress me with his driving aptitude.  We work well as a team and I’d hope that I have played an influential part in developing him, in his time in BTCC, to be the driver he is today. Dan is undeniably quick and the old adage in motorsport is you always have to beat your teammate first. So that will be the challenge this season.”

Matt Neal BTCC
Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography

“The Honda FK8 Type R is now a pretty potent package in its third season and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel testing again next month and with Honda, Halfords and Yuasa all partnering with us again for another season, as well as all our other supporting sponsors, we have the ingredients in place for an exciting year ahead.   But will it be my last?  We’ll have to wait and see!”

Neal didn’t have the best start to his preparation for the new season though. In the aftermath of the record-breaking announcement, he was involved in a bike accident.

He sustained multiple fractures and a collapsed lung as a result and was treated by the Worcester Acute Hospital NHS Trust service.

He revealed this news on Twitter with a picture of himself after the accident sat against a tree: “Slight shunt today. Matt Neal 0 – Tree 1…

“Basically broken clavicle, multiple fractures to shoulder, broken rib, punctured lung which then collapsed.

“Still enjoying the hospitality of Worcester General, where the staff are absolutely fabulous.”

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