Matt Neal “as hungry as ever” heading into 30th season
Matt Neal insists that he remains “as hungry as ever” as he prepares to head into his 30th season in the BTCC, with his focus firmly on challenging for a fourth title.
Neal will continue to be part of the family-run Team Dynamics line-up for the year ahead alongside Dan Cammish as he looks to bounce back from a winless 2019 season – which marked the first time he had failed to win a race since his brief 2001 campaign with Peugeot.
The 53-year-old will reach the landmark of 700 race starts during the year ahead, having made his series debut back on 14 July 1991 at Silverstone at the wheel of a BMW M3.
Such is Neal’s longevity in the series, a number of the drivers he will race against this season – including the likes of Ash Sutton, Tom Ingram, Jake Hill and Tom Chilton – weren’t even born at that point.
“I can’t believe it’s my 30th year!” he said. “It seems like only yesterday that I was competing in my first championship race and winning my first race. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The championship continues to grow in stature, both in the UK and on a world platform and I take my hat off to Alan Gow for making that happen. The evolving regulations and the adoption of new technologies, like hybrid, fill me with excitement for what is coming downstream.
“Personally, I look back on my years in the BTCC and reflect a little on what could have been —several years I’ve missed out on the title by only a few points, but that’s racing for you! Overall, I look back with a wry grin on my face and feel honoured to have raced against some of the best drivers in the world, there are just too many to mention, but we have been graced with some amazing names and personalities over the years and I have gone head-to-head with them all.”
Having won the title in 2005, 2006 and 2011, Neal will look to join Andy Rouse and Colin Turkington as a four-time title winner and insisted that he remained hungry to fight for success on track during the year ahead.
“I go into 2020 as hungry as ever to win my fourth BTCC title and take it to Colin, and of course my own team-mate Dan, who continues to impress me with his driving aptitude,” he said. “We work well as a team and I’d hope that I have played an influential part during his BTCC career in developing him to be the driver he is today. Dan is undeniably quick and the old adage in motorsport is that you always have to beat your team-mate first. So that will be the challenge this season.
“The Honda FK8 Type R is now a pretty potent package in its third season and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel testing again next month. With Honda, Halfords and Yuasa all partnering us again for another season, as well as all our other supporting sponsors, we have the ingredients in place for an exciting year ahead. But will it be my last? We’ll have to wait and see!”