Three-time BTCC champion Shedden to sub for Neal in tests, eyes return

Three-time British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden will substitute for Matt Neal at Honda in pre-season testing, and is eyeing a race return in the series

Three-time BTCC champion Shedden to sub for Neal in tests, eyes return

The 53-year-old Neal - like Shedden a triple BTCC title winner - is still recuperating from injuries sustained in a mountain-biking accident, and the Scot will take the wheel of a Team Dynamics-run Civic Type-R FK8, starting from a test this Thursday at Donington Park.

It is understood that Neal was scheduled to see a specialist last weekend, but he is facing a race to be fit in time for the opening round at Donington on 28-29 March.

"My recovery is going well and everything is starting to mend; I'm doing everything possible to get in the car for the first round at Donington at the end of March," said Neal.

"However, we have undertaken a lot of changes to the car over the winter period that we need to try on track, and we need to do this with a back-to-back comparative test programme.

"So there was no better choice than my old team-mate 'Flash' [Shedden] - he knows the team, he knows our work ethic and he is the natural choice to jump into my seat."

Shedden, 41, won all three of his BTCC crowns in Dynamics-run Hondas, but switched to the World Touring Car Cup for 2018-19 to race an Audi RS3 LMS, and has never driven the current FK8 Civic.

"Team Dynamics has always been my race family and I'm happy to help out," said Shedden.

"We have kept in constant contact since I went to WTCR and I've been down and seen the boys on a number of occasions over that two-year period.

"Obviously, my friendship with Matt means I really feel for him, and hope that he can make a speedy recovery, but at the business end we need to get the job done and get the cars race ready for the start of the season.

"I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the FK8 and assisting with its development.

"Both Matt and Dan [Cammish, Neal's team-mate] have been telling me how awesome it is to drive, so it will be interesting to compare it to the old FK2 that I won back-to-back drivers' titles with in 2015 and 2016!"

Shedden has been left out of a drive for 2020 owing to the collapse in support for the WTCR from Audi, and admitted he would be keen for a BTCC return if the right opportunity arises.

"Everything was very late with Audi's withdrawal from WTCR - that really came as a shock," he told Autosport.

"It was well into November when they told us, and by that time a lot of people had already put their plans into action for this season.

"It's not an ideal situation for me but that's motorsport.

"But a couple of years away did me good in a lot of ways - I've learned a lot, and although the headline results weren't there I'm a better driver.

"The BTCC has gone from strength to strength, but I'd only sit in something I could win in and challenge for the championship."

shares
comments
Nicolas Hamilton secures Team Hard Volkswagen BTCC seat for 2020

Previous article

Nicolas Hamilton secures Team Hard Volkswagen BTCC seat for 2020

Next article

New Motorbase BTCC Ford Focus breaks cover, Neate completes line-up

New Motorbase BTCC Ford Focus breaks cover, Neate completes line-up
Load comments

About this article

Series BTCC
Drivers Gordon Shedden , Matt Neal
Teams BTC Racing
Author Marcus Simmons
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Plus

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s plenty of talking points elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action

BTCC
May 7, 2021
The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best Plus

The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best

The Lancashire squad of Ciceley Motorsport has been a BTCC race winner for several years with Adam Morgan and Mercedes. But the switch to WSR-built BMWs and addition of Tom Chilton as a true barometer for Morgan should see the team step up into title contention

BTCC
May 6, 2021
How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC Plus

How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC

After topping the times at the end of British Touring Car Championship pre-season testing, it feels like Gordon Shedden has never been away. But after plenty of changes behind the scenes, the three-time champion is bedding himself in to pick up where he left off

BTCC
May 5, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Plus

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes

BTCC
May 4, 2021
How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait Plus

How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait

After seven years together, Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport have amicably split and gone down separate paths for the 2021 BTCC season. With engineer Spencer Aldridge joining him at the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai squad, Ingram is confident he can challenge for titles from the off

BTCC
Apr 30, 2021
How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary Plus

How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary

The Dolomite Sprint was a potent giantkilling weapon during the 1970s in the British Saloon Car Championship, now known as the BTCC. Tin-top legend Andy Rouse explains how it became such a force

BTCC
Apr 25, 2021
The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years Plus

The rollercoaster ride of West Surrey Racing's 40 years

It’s four decades since one of UK motorsport’s most successful teams made its debut at Silverstone in British Formula 3. Now it’s top dog in the BTCC, time to blow out some candles with boss Dick Bennetts

BTCC
Mar 12, 2021
Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return Plus

Why the BTCC elite should fear Shedden's return

OPINION: The British Touring Car Championship Lord taketh away Dan Cammish, then giveth Gordon Shedden. That means substituting what would have been a future champion with an all-time series great with a point to prove on his return

BTCC
Mar 11, 2021