2012 champion Shedden shares end of year spotlight with MG

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The British Touring Car Championship had a tight battle this past season with Gordon Shedden taking the title. MG may not have won the Manufacturers title but they definitely made their mark in their return to the BTCC.

Shedden ended the 2012 British Touring Car Championship with the coveted title to emulate boyhood hero Cleland.

In 2011 many people regarded Gordon Shedden as the best driver in the BTCC but he lost the title during the final race of the season to his Honda Racing team mate Matt Neal at Silverstone and missed out on his dream to emulate his boyhood hero John Cleland by becoming a Scottish BTCC champion.

For 2012 Shedden’s disappointment of missing out on the title the previous year didn’t show and after a poor first round, Shedden then went on to win 4 of the next 6 races. Once again his main title rival was his Honda Yuasa Racing team mate Neal with the lead switching more or less after every race between the pair.

Gordon Shedden celebrates becoming champion
Gordon Shedden celebrates becoming champion

Photo by: Pat Cranham

The two decisive meetings were Shedden’s superb double win in the wet at Rockingham and Neal’s nightmare weekend at Silverstone where he failed to score a point during the penultimate meeting of the year. As a result Shedden was able to clinch the title in race 2 at Brands Hatch and celebrated by jumping on the roof of his car as he emulated his hero Cleland to become the first Scottish champion since his hero back in 1995.

In becoming BTCC champion it means that Shedden has become just the 3rd driver from Scotland to become champion and sits alongside Cleland and the great Jim Clark as the only men to do so and with him already confirmed with the all dominating Honda Racing for 2013 more championships are certainly not out of the question for Shedden.

MG lands six victories in their return to the series.

In January 2012 MG confirmed that for the first time since the end of 2003 they were to enter the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. They teamed up with the most successful BTCC team Triple Eight Racing and the driver with the most wins in Jason Plato whilst getting major sponsorship from Supermarket giants Tesco in the form of their Momentum 99 fuel and their energy drink KX.

However the biggest challenge they faced was to design, build and make competitive 2 brand new specification cars in just 3 months. They managed to get the car ready for the opening meeting at Brands Hatch in early April but with no testing, surely they couldn’t win straight away could they?

Round 27 Race Winner Jason Plato
Round 27 Race Winner Jason Plato

Photo by: Pat Cranham

The first Free practice session proved to be nothing more than a shakedown with the pair finishing down in 19th and 20th. As the day grew on Plato gradually got quicker and finished qualifying in 6th the problem was the car had new run a race distance for race day.

Straight from the first race the MG was on the pace and had it not been for a mid-race contact he could have won from the off but still finished in a more than respectable 4th. Race 2 Plato was again challenging for the lead but eventually had to settle for 3rd but still got onto the podium before against all odds winning race 3 and ending the day with the early point’s leads despite the car having never turned a wheel prior to the start of the weekend.

Sadly for Plato and MG they did go onto suffer their fair share of mechanical issues but ended a fine debut season 3rd in the points challenging for the title until the final meeting of the year with 6 victories. With the lessons learnt from 2012 they now must surely head into the 2013 season as one of the champion favourites to add to Plato’s 2 driver championships and to Triple Eight Racings impressive 22 crowns.

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About this article
Series BTCC
Article type Special feature
Tags btcc, cleland, honda, mg, neal, plato, shedden