Only a fortnight after pledging its ongoing 'works' commitment to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship into 2011 on the eve of the 2010 finale, Honda Racing has now revealed the identities of the two drivers who will spearhead its bid for glory next year.
In arguably no great surprise, the services of both former double BTCC Champion Matt Neal and team-mate Gordon Shedden have been retained into 2011, with the successful pairing set to return behind the wheel of the team's brace of Honda Civics after both battled for the crown until the very final meeting this season, ultimately winding up respectively second (Neal) and third.
Both took five victories along the way and, in evidence of how evenly-matched they generally were, ended proceedings separated by a mere eleven points. Shedden was also awarded the prestigious BRDC Silver Star over both his team-mate and 2010 champion Jason Plato, for having tallied more points overall from his twelve best finishes.
“It was great to be back home in the Honda Civic in 2010, which delivered fantastic results,” enthused 'Flash'. “The aim is to come back even stronger and go for a clean sweep of titles in 2011. Bring it on!”
“I'm looking forward to a thrilling 2011,” agreed Neal, at 43, twelve years Shedden's senior. “The Civic is a real drivers' car, which gives you amazing performance and roadholding both on and off the track. I can't wait to get the season started again!”
With Honda (UK) and Team Dynamics working together closely together on plans and car development for the 2011 campaign, the former's managing director David Hodgetts admits that the target has to be to build upon the successful acquisition of both the teams' and manufacturers' trophies this year by adding the drivers' title to those achievements – and in that quest, he reveals, nobody is resting on their laurels.
“We are thrilled to announce Matt and Gordon as our drivers once again for next year,” Hodgetts affirmed. “They have shown they are a winning combination on the track, and they are excellent ambassadors for the Honda brand off the track, too.”