• Grid girls to make way for grid boys at Silverstone BTCC
• Shedden and Neal both former winners at Silverstone and ready to push to the maximum
• ‘Home of British Motor Sport’ next up for Britain’s premier championship
Honda Yuasa Racing will bring a bit of a twist to the Silverstone outing of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship next weekend (27/28 September), as the team’s popular grid girls make way for grid boys.
Sophie and Flo have been an integral part of the Honda Yuasa Racing BTCC effort all season, but for Silverstone, they have been given the weekend off to allow temporary replacements Myles and Ryan – who will be representing Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal respectively – to grace the grid in their absence.
The boys will begin their day by receiving Honda-branded body art treatment from award-winning face and body painting specialist Zoë Thornbury-Phillips. They will then take to the grid ahead of the trio of high-octane encounters, in which Shedden and Neal will bid to add to their silverware collection from the campaign to-date.
Shedden arrives at Silverstone sitting third in the drivers’ standings, 64 points adrift of the top of the table following a difficult weekend at Rockingham a fortnight ago. Although he expects Silverstone to provide a similarly stern test, the 2012 BTCC Champion insists he will be pushing hard to take the chase for the coveted crown right the way down to the wire in the Brands Hatch finale.
“Due to the nature of the track, Silverstone is likely to be our toughest event of the year, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be giving it our best shot as ever,” the Scot asserted. “The Civic Tourer’s handling is superb and Honda and Team Dynamics are extracting the absolute last drop of performance out of it every time.
“It’s always enjoyable to race at the ‘Home of British Motor Sport’, and we’ll make the best out of every opportunity next weekend. It’s not over yet, and we’ll do our utmost to take the title battle on to Brands Hatch where we’ll hopefully be able to put up much more of a fight.”
Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal is seventh in the championship heading to Silverstone, but like Shedden, the three-time BTCC Champion is a multiple winner around the high-speed Northants circuit and is keen to revisit the podium before the season draws to a close.
“We’ve thought we’ve been staring down the barrel of a gun at Silverstone in the past and yet have managed to pull results out of the bag,” he underlined. “As ever, it’s going to be a question of keeping our heads down and doing the best job with what we’ve got.
“We’re still in with a fighting chance in all three championships, so there’s plenty to push for and nothing’s over until it’s over. My job will be to help ‘Flash’ out as much as I can, and I promise you that we will both definitely be getting stuck in.”
Honda Yuasa Racing Technical Director Barry Plowman agreed that whilst Silverstone may not on paper be the squad’s strongest track on the calendar, in the all-action BTCC, anything can happen and frequently does. He stressed that every opportunity must be exploited as Honda bids to lift the hard-fought manufacturers’ laurels.
“It’s fair to say that Silverstone is probably not our most eagerly-anticipated weekend of the season, but we approach them all with equal determination and we are sure that hard work will pay off,” he underlined. “Gordon is still in the hunt for the drivers’ title, and the manufacturers’ and teams’ battles are both similarly far from resolved.
“At this stage of proceedings, the key will be to stay out of trouble and maximise every single situation. If we can do that and come away with a solid points haul from all three races, hopefully we can keep the fight alive through to Brands Hatch.”
All the action will be broadcast live and in high-definition on ITV4 on Sunday, 28 September. The three BTCC races get underway at 11:55, 14:30 and 17:15.