Pat Cranham, BTCC correspondent
Tony Gilham has announced that he has secured the ex Gordon Shedden Honda Racing Civic from last season to contest the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Last season Shedden took 6 victories in the car to narrowly miss out on the title.
Gilham will continue with the same Neil Brown engineering Turbo engine, meaning there will be 8 cars with engines from Neil Brown. In total, five Honda Civics will run Brown’s engines. Gilham will use the older S2000 model with the other four in full NGTC format; 2 from the works Honda Racing team and 2 from Pirtek Racing, who have switched to Civics for 2012. Meanwhile, West Surrey Racing will also run special BMW tuned Neil Brown Turbo engines in their 3 BMW’s.
Gilham, a former a former cage fighting champion, switched to racing in 2005, winning the Toyota MR2 cup. After a season in the VW cup, Gilham switched to the Porsche Carrera Cup where he became a front runner in the pro-am 1 category.
Gilham then brought his distinctive Green and Pink livery, which he has always raced in, to the BTCC for 2011 with Triple 8 Racing. He started the season in fantastic fashion, scoring points in all 3 races during the opening meeting at Brands Hatch but straight after the event lost a major sponsor. Gilham took an 8th at Donington before taking 2 points finishes at Thruxton, although that proved to be his last points in the series.
After that first meeting, Gilham faced a constant struggle to get on the grid for each meeting with funding issues and eventually lost that battle after Snetterton, and left Triple 8. However, Gilham was back in the series just a meeting later in a BMW with Geoff Steel Racing and completed the final 3 races with the team.
Obviously I’m massively excited to have got my hands on one of the title-winning Hondas.
Gilham has yet to announce who will run the car for him but will receive technical support from Team Dynamics, who run the official works Honda Racing team, and from triple/current BTCC champion Matt Neal.
Gilham no doubt hopes to learn on his experiences from last season and can’t wait to get his hands on the Civic whilst receiving support from the works team and said, “Obviously I’m massively excited to have got my hands on one of the title-winning Hondas. Last year was a huge learning curve for me with a number of low points, but now I’ll be in a proven car and can’t wait to get going. I’ll also have technical support and advice from Dynamics and the reigning champion Matt Neal which is going to be invaluable. Hopefully I’ll be announcing who will run the car for me soon so watch this space!”