BTCC »

Q&A - Matt Neal, Honda Racing

On your helmet you have the “Help for Heroes” logo, a charity very close to your heart. Can you tell us a little more about your involvement and how you became a part of the great work they do?

Matt Neal:
I, like many others, have friends who've been to Iraq and Afghanistan some of which are still there so I hear some of the horrors which are happening. In addition I did a team building day with some of the BRDC's Young Superstars a year or so back with a fantastic bunch of lads from the tank regiment. They have done two tours of Iraq and were shortly off to Afghanistan where they subsequently had a whole bunch of horrible injuries, these lads were mainly aged between 19 and 22 so it brought it home even more and made me feel even more strongly about what's happening.

Q:
Being a multiple Champion in such a publicised series means that many karters aspire to follow in your footsteps, what words of inspiration or advice would you give to them as they try to make their way into touring cars?

Matt Neal:
It will never always go your way, but it's how you handle the bad times and years that will make you as a person. I've had some rough years when I had zero chance of winning anything, but handling those years, getting through them and coming out the other side made me the driver and person I am today. There's an old say that 'a calm sea does not make a skilled sailor'. By this I mean sometimes a bad experience or a tough car to drive teaches you more than a good one. You just mustn't give up; if racing is in your heart aswell as your head then you mustn't give up. Then my last piece of advice would be to 'win with humility and lose with grace', beyond winning one of the greatest strengths a champion can have is humility, treat every member of your team with the utmost respect as they are the ones that make you!

Q:
In the history of the BTCC, which was your favourite era?

Matt Neal:
Last generation of Super Touring Cars was a pretty special time, but despite my ups and downs I've enjoyed the whole ride.

Q:
Assuming it was possible and for one race only; what car, track and team mate from any era would you chose and why?

Matt Neal:
Donington Park 1999, Live TV, big name competitors and manufacturers and a £250,000 cheque off Alan Gow. It was a pretty memorable moment.

Q:
Going back further in your career, what was it that got you into motorsport in the first place and who were your hero's growing up?

Matt Neal:
My Dad was my hero and still is. From before I could think I reckon? He raced for the works BMC and Cooper Car teams in the 60's and early 70's so touring cars but also racing in general was in my blood, I just loved speed. I was ok at rugby in my teens and ended up having a trial for England when I was 17. However at the end of this 5 day trial they interviewed you to see your aptitude and whether they think you'd make it, I remember sitting in front of this panel saying, well I've only come here for the experience and I'm not sure I'm really bothered because all I want to do is go race my motorbike which I'd started getting into then….. They must have thought what a knob, and now it makes me hold my head in my hands because I would have given anything to run on to the pitch with my country's colours on. But then maybe I wouldn't have had the career I've had, you can't have everything can you?

Q:
You have been dedicated to the BTCC scene having spent a huge proportion of your career in the series, what is it about touring cars that keeps you coming back?

Matt Neal:
'It's where it's at' and joking apart, the racing is very frenetic which gives a driver an incredible buzz. But also commercially it's where you can give true value for money to sponsors and backers, for racing it's a no brainer to be involved in.

Q:
Returning to 2012's impending season, what are your expectations going into the first race?

Matt Neal:
New Civic looks awesome, I feel positive and strong. I'm not under any illusions about task in front of the team and me as a driver. But I'm excited and hungry as much as I've ever been, so let's get it on!!!

Q:


Tagged as: Honda , 2012 , Matt Neal , NGTC

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Matt Neal (GBR) Honda Racing Honda Civic
RPJ Band with James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT, Marc Hynes (GBR) Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 GT and Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
RPJ Band with James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT, Marc Hynes (GBR) Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 GT and Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis with James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT, Marc Hynes (GBR) Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 GT and Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis with James Cole (GBR) United Autosports Toyota Avensis, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT, Marc Hynes (GBR) Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 GT and Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Grid girl for Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
BTCC Podium, Andrew Jordan (GBR) Pirtek Racing Honda Civic , Rob Austin (GBR) Exocet Racing Audi A4 and Alain Menu (SUI) CHROME Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.