The Team Dynamics-run Honda Racing Team heads to Snetterton this weekend for the sixth meeting of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship, with the team leading the drivers’, manufacturers’ and team’s titles and will be aiming to continue on with their strong form.
Reigning champion Matt Neal leads team-mate Gordon Shedden by one point in the drivers’ standings, with Jason Plato just 29 points behind as they go racing on the 2.99 mile ‘Snetterton 300′ layout for only the second time.
“Our engines have been away for a check over and we’ve been tweaking bits and bobs,” said Neal. “Everyone’s learning the NGTC package and we’ve had the best grip of it so far, and we’ve got a few new bits to try.”
The team has been dominant in the early part of the season, which leads them to running with two types of penalty levied by organisers TOCA. The standard race-by-race success ballast will see Neal and Shedden carrying 45kg and 36kg extra weight in their Honda Civics through practice, qualifying and the first race on Sunday at least for being the top two drivers in the standings, as well as a restricted boost limit on their Neil Brown-built 2.0 litre turbocharged Honda engines.
“We’ll get left on the straights at Snetterton, so we’ll have to work in the corners,” added Neal. “Jason Plato will be there, and so will the Fords, but we should be in the mix again.”
“The 300 circuit still has long straights, but it’s more technical than the old layout, which should help us. I enjoy it – I loved the old circuit, but I like the new one even better. It’s challenging.”
Gordon Shedden has won more races then anyone else this season, and also believes that the NGTC Honda Civic will be strong at the Norfolk circuit.
“There are a lot of corners at Snetterton, but there are a lot of straights too. You’re flat in sixth on the start/finish straight, again on the straight behind the pits, and again on the Bentley Straight. It’ll make it a bit tricky, but we’ll have to make the most of the corners. ”
“It’lll be the usual suspects and I can see the Fords and BMWs being quick. The racing was quite good last year, but it’s quite easy to defend.”
Though the team have had limited testing programme during the winter break, Matt Neal has found the time to go racing. Last weekend the three-time BTCC champion competed in the Dominican Republic Touring Car Series, where a number of Team Dynamics older Honda Integras have been sold to. Neal finished on the podium in his Honda, just behind former WTCC and now STCC driver Jordi Gené.