Honda Yuasa Racing is ready to defend its position as the top team in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with a number of technical developments and a brand new livery for 2013.
The new NGTC Honda Civic won the manufacturers’ and teams’ titles last season, as well as taking first and second in the drivers’ championship with Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.
The duo return in 2013 with the white-and-red Honda Yuasa Racing livery sporting a “new look.” Team headline sponsor remains Yuasa with a welcome return of Pioneer, as well as new supporters Valvoline and The AA.
Shedden, who took his first BTCC title last year, was one of the first to see it. “It’s definitely a change, but still incorporating Honda and the sponsors,” he said. “It’s eye-catching and we’ll certainly stand out on the track.”
Team manager Peter Crolla hopes the new look proves popular, but is also keen to point out the improvements that have gone on underneath the skin of the NGTC Civic.
“We’ve worked very hard over the last few months. What we ended up with last year was a strong car, but we recognise there are a lot of teams who are going to improve.
“There was nothing we could radically change, but we’ve tried to evolve the car in a number of areas, like the engine and suspension. We hope the changes will keep it ahead of the pack but I think there will be stronger competition than last year.”
Neal, who took the 2011 crown before narrowly losing out to team-mate Shedden last year, hopes the changes will help him win title number four.
“We’ve left no stone unturned,” he said. “We’ve got all the boxes ticked”.
“I don’t like to be confident because that breeds complacency, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s my turn to win this year!”
Shedden, of course, will be trying to defend his newly won crown. The Scot believes the car has been improved, but feels the poor weather in testing means there is still an element of the unknown heading into the first round of 2013.
“Some of testing has been positive and some of it has been scuppered by the weather – it’s been so cold,” added the reigning champion. “We’ve definitely got some improvements, it’s just unproven because of the weather.”
From the Donington Park media day, the Honda Yuasa Racing team and its new Civics will head to Brands Hatch for the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on Easter weekend.
Shedden is hoping for a better start to his campaign than he has managed recently at Brands, bad luck hindering him both last year and in 2011.
“I don’t think I’ve had a good run at Brands in the BTCC!” he said. “It’d be good to have a trouble-free weekend.”