You can buy the ex-Matt Neal, £250,000-winning Nissan Primera Super Touring
The Nissan Primera Super Touring with which Matt Neal secured the first outright victory for an Independents’ class driver in the British Touring Car Championship is currently available for sale.
Neal first took on the giant manufacturer teams with his family-run Team Dynamics outfit during the ultra-competitive BTCC Super Touring era, and his result at Donington Park in 1999 behind the wheel of this Nissan is one of the most famous in BTCC history.
Neal missed out on independent glory in 1998 despite finishing 13th in the overall championship in an older Nissan Primera, with Norwegian Tommy Rustad’s better finishing record netting him the title instead.
Just weeks after the season finished, Neal got his first meeting with chassis number 98/P11#50 in Australia and finished a stunning second at the Bathurst 1000, before heading home for what turned out to be a career-defining winter.
An offer of a test alongside Rydell in the title-winning Volvo S40 quickly turned into the offer of a race seat from TWR, but Neal turned it down to stick with Team Dynamics – a decision which helped pave the way for one of the most memorable moments of the Super Touring era.
Arriving at the first weekend of the season, the carrot of a £250,000 cheque for the first outright independent win was still being dangled by series supremo Alan Gow.
And Neal raised plenty of eyebrows in qualifying, securing a front row spot alongside pole-sitter James Thompson in the Honda Accord for the sprint race, before bagging pole for the feature.
The sprint didn’t quite go to plan, after a bad start left Neal stuck behind factory Nissan driver David Leslie – with team protocol meaning he wouldn’t attempt a pass unless he could make a clean move stick.
This meant all eggs went in the feature race basket in a bid to bag the £250,000, and after a good start, everything was going to plan. As well as his speed, Neal was confident his tyre choice would put him in a good position against Thompson’s Honda.
But then came the moment which left everyone with their hearts in their mouths, as Neal stalled the car at his compulsory pitstop. He managed to fire the car back up, but the lead was gone.
“I f***ed up the pitstop, stalled and went down to fifth, and there was an element of panic in my stomach, but I knew I still had time to come back,” said Neal to TouringCarTimes.
“There was an element of luck, as that car was a b*****d to start when the engine was hot. I hit the starter button not expecting it to start, and it fired straight up.”
The battle back to the front then began in earnest, as Neal methodically picked off the cars in front of him, before passing Thompson for the lead at the Old Hairpin to the tune of huge cheers from the packed crowd.
Co-commentator John Watson called it “complete automotive superiority” at the time, and few would disagree. The driver, car and tyres were all operating as one, and Neal rolled it home to beat Thompson by five seconds.
Neal said: “Everyone was fabulous. They all came and said well done. The whole of the pit wall was full when I crossed the line. But when I won again the next year, nobody came and said well done then…”
The Brit finished the 1999 BTCC season ninth overall, winning the Michelin Cup for Independents comfortably, beating Mark Blair with a massive 170 points.
Neal continued racing the car in the BTCC next year before it was sold to New Zealand and later Indonesia.
Following a couple of seasons in the Indonesian Supercar Series, the car was put into storage in 2012.
The car has since then been restored to its 1999 guise and is currently up for sale in Indonesia with an extensive pare parts package.
Head over to racerobert.com if you want to get your hands on a truly iconic Super Touring race car out there for your local track day and click here to read more about the iconic Donington Park race in 1999.
The 98/P11#50 Nissan Primera Super Touring today: