Tag: Gordon Shedden

BTCC: Champion trio delivers at Donington Park

The three most successful drivers in the British Touring Car Championship field took a win apiece in a thrilling triple-header at Donington Park.

With seven drivers’ championships between them it was the class of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal that rose to the surface on a brilliant day of racing in Leicestershire.

Left slightly disappointed that he couldn’t convert his superior free practice pace into pole position, Team BMR’s Plato wasted little time in reaching the race one summit.

He immediately blasted by Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R off the line and had enough grunt in his VW CC to be nudging the sister car of Turkington into the first corner. Reigning champ Turkington held on for much of the opening lap but eventually had to give way to Plato on the run to the final chicane. Plato powered away by more than a second before sustaining the gap for the remainder of the race.

Attention turned to the battle for second which resulted in some epic mid-race action. After trading places, Shedden’s Honda slid slightly wide at Redgate on lap seven and Turkington promptly angled his VW down the inside of the Japanese machine. The Ulsterman only held the position for a split second, however, as his Honda rival fought back brilliantly by returning the favour on the run to the Craner Curves.

The Scotsman managed to keep the #1 car at a relative arm’s length until the finish and celebrated second by also setting the fastest lap. The new lap record holder would now start race two from pole position ahead of Turkington.

Team BMR’s Turkington made it by the pole-sitting machine of Shedden on lap one, and although the pair scrapped ruthlessly early on, the VW eventually pulled away to take a comfortable victory. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan took his first podium of the season to complete the rostrum.

Such has been the competitiveness to the start of the 2015 BTCC season that Turkington became the fifth different driver to win in the opening five rounds.

It was to be Matt Neal who earned bragging rights as the first double victor of the year after he came out on top of a relentless multi-car battle in the final bout.

Power Maxed Racing’s impressive rookie Josh Cook started the race from pole position and despite losing out off the line to Rob Collard’s BMW, he soon re-passed and did an absolutely stellar job at the front for the first few laps, but his hard work was soon to be undone.

The race was neutralised on lap six when Sam Tordoff’s BMW and Jack Goff’s MG had a coming together at the final chicane. Both cars were fired off into the gravel and out of the race with the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to retrieve both stricken vehicles. This eroded Cook’s lead and set up a spectacular end to the day.

There were changes aplenty behind as Plato’s VW, Jordan’s MG and the Mercedes of Morgan tussled in the early stages.

Aron Smith had already blazed a trail from 12th on the grid up to third prior to the incident and was into second shortly after the restart. He immediately reeled in the race-leading Chevrolet of Cook ahead of him which led to a pulsating scrap over the following few tours. The pair touched through the ultra fast Craner Curves and both cars bounced across the grass in dramatic fashion. The wild sliding VW of Smith made it back onto the track right amongst the chasing pack while Cook rejoined behind them. It was an incredible escape for both drivers but the episode left Collard out front.

Neal, who had already clashed with Jordan’s MG at the Old Hairpin, hauled in the WSR car and squeezed his Honda into the lead with just two laps to go. Jordan made it through too and he was eventually sandwiched between two Hondas as Shedden made the last step on the podium after his own stellar drive from 14th on the grid.

Collard claimed fourth ahead of an incredible drive from teenager Aiden Moffat. Not only did the Mercedes youngster make the most of the incidents ahead of him but he also made impressive late moves by previous race leaders Smith and Cook. Despite his dramas, Cook takes the lead in the Jack Sears Trophy table.

Neal leads the standings by two points from Turkington, with Shedden a further five points adrift in third. Honda takes the lead in the manufacturer/constructor standings, while Team BMR head the teams’ table.

The championship now heads to Thruxton in Hampshire on 9/10 May.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC: Matt Neal makes it a Honda double at Brands Hatch

Honda’s Matt Neal completed a memorable afternoon and claimed the second victory for the new Civic Type R, following team-mate Gordon Shedden’s thrilling race two win earlier in the day.

The finale got off to a dramatic start when Rob Collard’s BMW was tapped into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, whilst a quartet of runners further down the field made contact at Druids. The first safety car of the season was immediately deployed as Josh Cook’s Chevrolet and Warren Scott’s VW were also forced into retirement.

Pole-sitter Rob Austin remained out front in his Exocet AlcoSense Audi but the two-time race winner couldn’t shake off the attentions of Neal and the MG of the impressive Jack Goff. The top three pulled away following the restart as Sam Tordoff’s kept a trail of cars behind him in fourth.

2013 champion Andrew Jordan was busy having his best showing of the day on his MG debut, as he scythed his way by Tom Ingram’s Toyota and Tordoff’s BMW to grab fourth on lap 15. Aron Smith was cutting his own similar ascent through the pack and eventually followed Jordan through and into fifth.

There would be changes aplenty in the top order, however, as race-leader Austin struggled for pace late on. Neal made his move on lap 21, and was immediately followed through by Goff at Paddock, as Austin was unable to withstand the race-long pressure. Jordan was soon upon the Audi too but a mistimed attack on the approach to Clearways led to contact, with both cars scampering across the gravel. Austin recovered and went on to claim fifth while Jordan retired in the pits with a puncture.

Goff kept Neal honest throughout and although they couldn’t match the incredible closeness of the race two finish, the gap across the line of just 0.196s again went to show the ultra competitiveness of the BTCC.

Smith, Tordoff and Austin were next up on the timesheets while Ingram rounded off a solid opening day with a top six result. Adam Morgan’s Mercedes took seventh ahead of the charging Andy Priaulx, who made the most of last corner contact between Dave Newsham’s Chevrolet and Hunter Abbott’s Audi to claim eighth.

Former champions Colin Turkington, Jason Plato and Shedden all endured disappointing results for differing reasons. Turkington spun his VW at Surtees and could only recover to finish 12th while his team-mate Plato had his storm through the field halted by a power steering problem. He was able to finish the race, albeit way down the order, while Shedden’s Honda did not make the final classification after a mid-race pit stop to correct his own mechanical woes.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC: New Honda Civic Type R breaks cover

Honda has announced it is to race the new Civic Type R in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Scheduled to be officially unveiled at the BTCC media day at Donington on Tuesday 24 March, the new car has been designed and built from the ground up in the Team Dynamics workshops in Pershore, Worcestershire.

Working in close conjunction with Honda UK manufacturing in Swindon, Honda Yuasa Racing started designing the car last September with the build starting in November.

Based on the production version of the new Civic Type R which is due to hit showrooms in July, the race version will develop 350bhp with 400Nm of torque.  By building on the existing road car, which was sourced direct from the Honda UK factory in Swindon, the team has produced a car which has increased down force compared to last year’s Tourer, less drag and a more effective air flow management.

The team has high hopes for 2015 as Barry Plowman, Technical Director at Honda Yuasa Racing, explains: “We cannot wait for the new season to start.  Our car for 2015 is going to win races.  The shape of the new road going Civic Type R has allowed the team to build on the design and take it forward to be a championship winning car.

“2015 is widely being billed as the year Honda is back and we are continuing that in to BTCC. We’ve worked hard over the winter to ensure we have a winning car for 2015.”

The announcement comes as the team recently confirmed an unchanged driver line-up of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal for the sixth consecutive season.

“This is a car that not just us, but the entire automotive industry has been waiting for,” added Matt Neal. “We are as excited as anybody to start running the Civic Type R, which is a massive step forward from last year’s Tourer – from the engine to the handling and aerodynamics.”

“The Civic Type R is an iconic car,” commented 2012 BTCC Champion Shedden.  “We are champing at the bit to get this distinctive, aggressive looking car out on the track. It’s going to stand out and cause a real stir on the track. Especially when we clean up in the championship!”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Colin Turkington crowned champion

eBay Motors star takes his second drivers championship as MG claims manufacturer honours

eBay Motors driver Colin Turkington was crowned the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion after a quite pulsating final day of racing at Brands Hatch.  The Ulsterman came into the weekend with a relatively comfortable points margin, but had to overcome the challenge from MG’s Jason Plato – the most successful BTCC driver in history.  Plato laid down an immediate marker by claiming pole position ahead of his MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save team-mate Sam Tordoff, whilst Turkington could only manage fourth on the grid behind Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden.  An action packed opening race commenced with a huge multi-car accident, as well as providing three different leaders in the opening half lap.  Pole-sitter Plato was jumped off the line by Tordoff, who then immediately had the BMW of Turkington blasting around his outside as the pack roared into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time.  There was drama behind after a coming together between the Airwaves Racing Ford Focus of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Shedden’s Honda Civic Tourer sparked a sequence of incidents in the pack.  Shedden’s machine slid sideways across the track following the contact and was hit heavily by the unsighted Rob Austin.  Jack Goff’s VW was bumped from behind in the melee and briefly became airborne with both Dave Newsham and Alain Menu also involved.  Matt Neal’s Honda was also car collected in the incident, ending the triple-champion’s day as he was flown to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on his ribs.  When the dust eventually settled it was Plato leading from Tordoff, with Turkington in close pursuit. The MG duo held on for an impressive one-two but it wasn’t enough to deny 32-year-old Turkington from claiming his second BTCC title.Turkington’s eBay Motors squad was ready in the pitlane to welcome its man home, as the West Surrey Racing-run team also secured the Teams’ and both Independents’ championships.“I am over the moon,” said the new champion.  “I wanted this more than ever and I was prepared to do whatever it took to win the title.

“I suppose the main feeling is relief.  We were ready to do battle until race three so I really wasn’t expecting to clinch the title so early in the day.  I actually thought I was a point short when I crossed the line so I didn’t want to celebrate until I was absolutely sure.

“To be able to celebrate with the team and my family is a really proud moment.  Lewis [Colin’s son] wasn’t old enough to remember the first one and part of the reason to get back into the BTCC was to do it for him, so I’m delighted.”

Race two was all about MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save securing the Manufacturers’ Championship but the encounter wasn’t without incident.

Plato finished first on the road but was later penalised for his involvement in a race-ending shunt for Turkington.  The eBay Motors BMW led the way in the early running before contact from the MG behind sent Turkington spinning into retirement.

Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson took over the reins but his lead didn’t last long after the multiple race-winner spun it away of the exit of Hawthorns.  Plato baulked up while Jackson was having his moment, allowing the BMW of Rob Collard to nip through.

Changes for top spot were far from finished, however, after Morgan got past Plato before producing a stellar move by leader Collard at Paddock Hill Bend.  Plato made it through too as Collard’s soft compound tyres began to drop in performance.

Morgan then slid wide to seemingly hand victory to Plato before the latter’s post-race penalty gave the Mercedes driver a maiden success.  Incredibly it was also the first overall win for the German marque in the BTCC.

“It’s brilliant,” beamed Morgan. “We’ve been praying for a podium for so long, so to get a win at the last event of the year is just fantastic.”

Shedden produced a master class in treacherous conditions in the season finale, ending a challenging campaign on a high for Honda Yuasa Racing.

Tin-top rookie Jack Clarke scored an incredible second placed finish after seeing off a number of challengers throughout the contest.  The pole-sitter lost out to the fast-starting BMW of Nick Foster off the line but he retook the lead with a great move at Graham Hill Bend.

Shedden made light work of Foster and immediately set about attacking Clarke ahead of him. The 26-year-old held on well for a number of laps before the Scotsman slipped through on the exit of Hawthorns.

Jackson completed the podium, rounding off an excellent season for the multiple race-winner in which he completed all 30 encounters.  It was a hat-trick of accomplishments for Ford drivers as Dave Newsham also collected the Jack Sears Trophy for making up the most places of any Independent driver throughout the campaign.

It was all eyes on Turkington after the final chequered flag of the season, however, as he took to the podium in front of a huge crowd and collected the much coveted BTCC trophy for the second time in his career.

The glittering occasion rounded off a record breaking and hugely successful 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, which saw 31-cars take to the grid, including seven former champions.  Such has been the competitiveness of the burgeoning series that Adam Morgan today became the 11th different race winner in 2014 – a year that has provided more victors than in any other in the history of this illustrious championship.

So many drivers have made the top step of the podium during the season, but of course there can only be one champion, and that richly deserved accolade goes to eBay Motors star Colin Turkington.

Read more on btcc.net