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Friday favourite: The Honda title-winner that made an instant mark on the BTCC

Gordon Shedden has a trio of Hondas which could be a contender for his favourite car but only one truly stood out. The Team Dynamics-built Type R version of the ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ Civic which delivered back-to-back British Touring Car Championship titles makes it the Scot’s top pick

Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R

Photo by: JEP

Gordon Shedden has spent much of his career in Honda machinery so it’s no surprise that his favourite car comes from the Japanese manufacturer. But it’s not the 2006 Integra in which he scored his first British Touring Car win or the Civic with which he took his maiden crown.

The three-time champion swiftly picks the first Team Dynamics-built Type R version of the ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ Civic that arrived in 2015. “It probably has to be the first Civic Type R, with the RML spec parts,” he says of the best car of his career. “It was mega, really nice.”

Shedden took four wins and seven other podiums to take a comfortable lead into the Brands Hatch season-decider in 2015. Drama in race two meant Jason Plato was a real threat and Shedden had to charge from 19th to fourth in the finale to secure the crown by four points.

Top 10: BTCC season finales

Shedden took his third BTCC title with the car the following year, scoring four victories as he overcame a deficit of 52 points at the halfway stage of the season. He added three more wins with the Type R in 2017 before heading to World Touring Cars, while Dynamics introduced the FK8 version of the Civic for 2018.

“The Type R was so fast,” adds the 45-year-old. “When they brought in the NGTC rules we had a very strong engineering team, with Barry Plowman and Eddie Hinckley. They understood the concept better than anyone else. You look at how we were pegged back on boost – we’d have won every race otherwise!”

The original FK2 NGTC Civic had brought Shedden his first BTCC title in 2012, and took the 2013 crown in the hands of Eurotech privateer Andrew Jordan. But Shedden believes the Type R version, which followed the successful Tourer estate, moved things on considerably.

Shedden felt the Type R was a step up on the original FK2 NGTC Civic

Shedden felt the Type R was a step up on the original FK2 NGTC Civic

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“The aero was better,” he asserts. “And that was around the time teams started to realise you needed to make a bad engine to get more boost, which also helped with torque.

“The Honda engine was such a good road-car engine we never had any boost so for Neil Brown Engineering it became about making the flow as bad as possible to get more boost.”

Outside of current machinery, another car stands out for the Scot. “I have to mention the Cortina, it’s one of the cars that got me into motorsport, with Jim Clark,” says Shedden. “Sharing one with Matt Neal at places such as the Silverstone Classic was super special.”

"When they brought in the NGTC rules we had a very strong engineering team, with Barry Plowman and Eddie Hinckley. They understood the concept better than anyone else. You look at how we were pegged back on boost – we’d have won every race otherwise" Gordon Shedden

Although Shedden scored all his BTCC successes in front-wheel-drive machinery, he’s very comfortable with the RWD cars that predominate in historic competition, such as the Ford Lotus Cortina: “Years of driving at the Knockhill rally school was where I learned my car control and got sideways, which is what you do in the historics with crossply tyres.

“In modern racing a well-driven car looks easy, but when you look at historic cars it looks hard. It’s great fun.”

Top 10: Best BTCC cars ranked

The Scot also picks out the Cortina as a personal favourite

The Scot also picks out the Cortina as a personal favourite

Photo by: Ebrey / Motorsport Images

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