Photo: Jakob Ebrey

“Lots of factors to consider” over the future for Matt Neal

Matt Neal admits there are “a lot of factors to consider” as he weighs up whether or not he will extend his time on the BTCC grid beyond 2020.

Neal brought the curtain down on his 30th season on the grid at Brands Hatch finishing eleventh in the championship standings, with second place at Croft being his best result of the campaign.

The 53-year-old – who reached the landmark of 700 BTCC starts earlier in the year – has been open about the fact that he could step down from driving duties ahead of 2021, rather than return in a bid to try and fight for a record-equalling fourth championship title.

Speaking following the season finale, Neal admitted that he had hoped for more from the current campaign on a personal level, and said he would now give “lengthy consideration” to what happens next with his racing career.

“Personally am I happy with myself? No,” he said. “Dan [Cammish] has forged ahead for us and got a few wins this season and I haven’t, as a win has eluded me again. If this is my last hurrah then it isn’t the way I would want to finish, but who knows about next year.

“It became evident from mid-distance that we had to focus on Dan and that was my aim; to try and get one of our cars across the line first.

“I’ve done 30 years in the BTCC and the fire still burns brightly inside me. I still feel I have something to offer and start a season feeling that I have the chance to win races, stand on the podium and fight for the championship.

“But I have to realistic and see what I need to dedicate to family life, what I need to dedicate to work life and what is best for the team in general. There are a lot of factors involved, and I’ll be giving it some lengthy consideration.

“If I’m not here in a driving capacity then I will still be here as I want the team to succeed, and I would want to give try and give my experience to whoever is in the car, whether be that Dan or someone else – and whether we look to upscale to run more cars or not.

“I feel I have a lot to offer both on and off the track, and it can be just as exciting to watch on from the pit wall.”

Despite being disappointed with his own campaign, Neal added that it has been a positive season for Team Dynamics to again take third in the standings with Cammish – particularly against the backdrop of COVID-19.

“It think it’s been a season of compromise with COVID, but we’re chuffed to get Dan home in third as leading front-wheel drive car in the Honda, and it’s great to have Halfords and Yuasa up on the podium again,” he said.

“This season has been amazingly challenging but I think Alan Gow has done a terrific job. I’ll ring him up and have a go at the best of times, but Alan has done well to bring us all together and get a championship sorted.

“It’s a shame that we haven’t been able to have fans along to watch and I really thought we would get fans along for the final round, but that is life. It’s great that we have been able to finish the season and have got a champion crowned. Well done to Ash as he driven well all year long.”