Pat Cranham, BTCC correspondent
Honda Racing has today officially unveiled their 2012 New Generation Touring Honda Civic, at the company’s factory at Swindon, in which they will compete in this year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Despite building the all new Civic to the new series regulations, Honda starts 2012 in great shape and have been one of the most active teams testing over the past few weeks. They have appeared at Brands Hatch, Rockingham, Oulton Park, Silverstone and a couple of times at Donington Park; as they prepare to defend their Triple Crowns from last year, while Matt Neal will be hoping to secure his 4th drivers championship to equal the all time record set by Andy Rouse.
It’s enjoyable working with; nurturing and developing a new car...
So far, Neal has done most of the testing in his 2012 car, however, Gordon Shedden got his first proper test last Friday at Silverstone in his new car as he hopes to go one better than his runner up position last year. Shedden said after the test, “Before Friday’s test, I’d only spent half an hour in my team-mate Matt’s car. It’s always a bit tense getting in a brand new car for the first time because it feels so different. It was great to get some good, solid and continuous running in. What Matt has learnt so far was applied to my car and what we discovered at Silverstone will be applied to his, so the Civic’s ever-changing. It’s enjoyable working with; nurturing and developing a new car just like we did with the previous Civic and we’re able to throw more ideas in to the pot now we have more experience. I have to say that the Team Dynamics engineers have put in a top effort. Most have worked through the night to get the cars ready so it’s a reward for them that the shakedown went so well.”
In yet more exciting news for Honda Racing and for BTCC fans in general, Honda were able to confirm at the launch that Yuasa, who have sponsored the team for the past two seasons, have raised their involvement in the team to become title sponsor for the next three seasons. The team will run under the name of Honda Yuasa racing. This is certainly great news for the series, meaning now both Honda and MG are committed to the Championship until the end of the 2014 season.
Yuasa are a leader for automotive aftermarket, industrial and motorcycle batteries. Andrew Taylor, managing director for the company, is delighted to become title sponsor of Honda Racing and said, “Yuasa’s partnership with Honda is very strong and the new title sponsorship provides us with the perfect springboard for our UK and European automotive aftermarket plans over the next three years. We are very pleased to add Yuasa’s name to the team's title and continue our commitment to the outfit over the next three years until the end of the 2014 season. With the sensational new Civic, built to the BTCC’s turbocharged Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) regulations, we can look forward to another season of very exciting racing as Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden take on all-comers to defend their titles,”
Honda are also equally as happy to have Yuasa on board for the next three season’s and Dave Hodgetts MD of Honda said, “Today’s news will allow us to take that relationship from strength-to-strength over the next three years, looking at innovative marketing and brand initiatives linked to the excitement of racing”