Matt Neal is set to return to the family-run Team Dynamics outfit to the 2010 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season following Vauxhall's decision to quit the sport.
The 2009 season finale marked the final weekend for the factory Vauxhall team after some 20 years of BTCC competition, with Neal, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Andrew Jordan now seeking alternative employment for the new campaign.
That announcement is now likely to lead to Neal returning to the family-run outfit which carried him to his two BTCC titles, with the champion from 2005 and 2006 set to spend time behind the wheel of the Honda Civic later this week.
“Hopefully next years driver line-up is going to be very strong,” Dynamics team boss Steve Neal told Crash.net
following the season finale at Brands Hatch. “Matt is going to test with us at Snetterton on Wednesday and I see no reason why he shouldn't come back. He wants to come back and if he gets the car sorted out how he likes he [he can get the job done]. There are other Vauxhall drivers out of work as well though aren't there…”
The season finale saw a large Honda presence in the paddock, with a impressive hospitality unit along the start/finish straight.
Having worked hard in recent years to get the manufacturer more involved in the BTCC programme, Neal admitted he was hopeful of securing more backing for the 2010 season – which could allow for an expansion of the Dynamics team.
As well as Neal Jr's anticipated return, both Johnny Herbert and Dave Pinkney are believe to be keen to drive the Civic again next season – amongst others.
“I've got half the pit-lane wants to drive!” Neal continued. “No-one wants to buy a car now, they just want to pay a lump sum and drive the car and I've had a lot of requests which we need to evaluate. If we were to run more than two cars, I'd like to think we'd run a Honda team as the 'professional' team and a Dynamics team for the amateur drivers. I'm being careful there with referring to them as amateur drivers, but you know what I mean.
“Discussions are always going on with Honda and they are showing a lot more interest. Twelve months ago at this meeting we had a hell of deal going with Honda and were going to have a whole package, but then Gordon [Brown – prime minister] screwed us all and we had the problem with Honda pulling the plug on F1 and laying off people at the factory in Swindon. They couldn't been seen to be out of F1 and then spend millions on touring cars as it wasn't on, so it all stopped.
“[Honda's involvement] will be decided in the next ten days and that is what we are pitching for, we are pitching for Honda to be more involved. Frankly, with Triple Eight [VX Racing] going, you are losing the backbone of the BTCC for the last 20 years and I'm not sure what will happen with RML as I understand the Lacettis are pretty much sold. That means they would run the Cruze next year and would need a big sponsor. That's a whole lot of hay [to find] as they say.”