Shedden: Dynamics BTCC Honda feels “like an old pair of slippers”

Gordon Shedden says his Team Dynamics Honda already “feels like an old pair of slippers” ahead of his British Touring Car Championship comeback season that begins at Thruxton this weekend.

Shedden: Dynamics BTCC Honda feels “like an old pair of slippers”

The three-time champion will return to the BTCC grid this season after leaving the series at the end of 2017 for a two-season sojourn in the FIA World Touring Car Cup.

Shedden has reunited with Team Dynamics, where he scored his three titles, in an all-new 2021 line-up after an off-season of upheaval for the Honda squad, which has been forced to reshuffle its pack following the loss of Honda and Yuasa backing.

PLUS: Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

As a result, Dan Cammish and team owner Matt Neal have made way for Shedden and new recruit Dan Rowbottom.

Despite three years away from the BTCC, Shedden already seems likely to be a contender to add another crown to his 2012, 2015 and 2016 titles, after topping the times in last month’s pre-season test at Silverstone.

The performance was made even more impressive given it came in the FK8 version of the Civic, a car he has never raced.

“It’s a different car from the FK2 that I finished with,” Shedden told Autosport of the FK8 Civic.

“I’ve kind of tried to think about it, because people say, ‘Oh, how’s it different? Is it better? Is it worse?’

"And I say, ‘Well it’s very obviously from the same family, it’s just got a different heartbeat’. What works with one isn’t quite what works with the other.

Gordon Shedden, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

Gordon Shedden, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“But straight away it was great, and it felt like an old pair of slippers. Everything was where I wanted it to be.

"It just felt right. And of course going back with Dynamics, all the right people, all the same people, friendly faces, it was just everything I needed.

Shedden believes he can fight to win a fourth BTCC title in 2021.

“As we stand here just now, I’ve got as good a chance as anybody else,” he added.

"I’ve not been brought back here to make up the numbers. Our purpose is to be as competitive as possible out of the box.

"Of course the championship is the aim, but you need a bit of luck and you need the cards to fall your way to help that happen.

"But if we do everything that we can do, if we can be on the front foot, if we can go to every round knowing that we’ve done the best that we possibly can, then what will be will be.”

Matt Neal

Matt Neal

Photo by: Dan Bathie

Neal unsure on BTCC 2022 comeback

While Shedden is setting his sights on a fourth title, the BTCC will start the season without his fellow three-time champion Neal in the driving seat.

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It is the first time since 1996 that the 54-year-old won’t be on the grid for the start of a BTCC season.

When Team Dynamics announced its sweeping driver line-up change for this season, Neal said this year would be a sabbatical, but a 2022 comeback is not yet certain.

“I’ve got to take a rain check on how the team performs this year, because the last few years I felt my role changed,” Neal told Autosport.

“Where I used to be the sort of leader from the front, I settled into the place of being the steadying of the ship and letting Flash or Cammo go for the glory.

"And I didn’t mind that, I enjoyed that actually. It was sort of a role that Steve Soper did very well and professionally, and I idolised Steve – I think he’s the ultimate touring car driver of all time.

"So let’s see what happens with the performance and how I feel at the end of the year.”

The BTCC kicks off on Saturday with two 40-minute practice sessions before qualifying, and three 16-lap races on Sunday.

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