The Honda Racing Team is celebrating sealing two of the major honours in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after last weekend’s three races at Brands Hatch.
By finishing first and second in the final race of the weekend, drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden have helped the firm secure the BTCC Manufacturers/Constructors title, and the Honda Racing Team has also collected the HiQ Teams’ Trophy.
Now two of the major accolades are in the cabinet, Neal and Shedden will now go toe-to-toe for the Drivers Championship in the final rounds of the year at Silverstone on October 15/16.
Neal’s sixth victory of the year means he will go into the showdown in two weeks’ time sitting on top of the table with Shedden tied for second place but only five behind his team-mate.
Neal says winning the manufacturers and teams trophies was a reward for the effort put in by his squad and also point to the attributes of the two-litre turbocharged Honda Civic.
“Winning these titles was our primary focus this season and we knew a good weekend at Brands Hatch would make it possible,” says Neal. “It is fantastic to achieve it. I had a puncture in the opening race and things weren’t looking good but to top it off with a one-two is such a great feeling.
“You have to have a fantastic all-round car to cope with the challenges of the BTCC. You need a good engine and chassis because you are pushing the whole time and we’ve obviously got the best one because we have won the championship!
“There is still one piece of the jigsaw missing which is the drivers’ title – and we’ll go for that as well.”
Shedden’s second place in the final event was also a highlight after he too had recovered from a tyre problem in the opening race. Like Neal, he battled back into the top ten in race two before leaping to the front of the field in the third race of the weekend to snatch the glory.
“It was a disappointing start to the weekend with the tyre problem,” says ‘Flash’ Gordon Shedden. “But we got some salvation by securing the two trophies. This is the hardest championship to win in the UK and the Honda Civic has lifted the major titles – you can’t get a better endorsement than that.
“The drivers’ championship is going to be a battle between the five guys still in with a chance but Matt and I know we have a race-winning car underneath us. Let’s hope that we can add to the collection of silverware at Silverstone.”