Top 10 BTCC Drivers of the Year 2011:1:
Honda Civic (S2000/NGTC)Wins:
He may have missed out to team-mate Matt Neal in the race for the BTCC title, but Gordon Shedden emerged as your resounding choice to be the top BTCC Driver of the Year after a season where he came close to lifting the crown for the first time.
The Scot looked like missing the opening rounds of the year after a heavy crash in practice at Brands Hatch but he rewarded the team for repairing his car with a strong hat-trick of top six finishes on race day. Although Donington Park was tough, with an exclusion and a retirement, Shedden soon got off to winning ways at Thruxton and then added another win at Oulton Park – although as everyone now knows, he should have scored a double in Cheshire and would have done were it not for team-mate Neal's over ambitious final lap move.
The Scottish drivers title challenge was based however primarily on his form over the second half of the season, where he took four more victories – with Brands Hatch being the only circuit after the summer break where he didn't manage to take a win.
Failure to score three times would be the difference between first and second in the championship standings, but such was Shedden's performance over the course of the year, that even Neal admitted that it was a shame he didn't end the year as champion.
For any racing driver, the first person to beat is your team-mate, and Neal will face a huge challenge from within the Honda team if he is to defend the title next year, with Shedden certain to be one of the favourites when 2012 gets underway.BTCC Driver of the Year Top 10:2. Frank Wrathall3. Matt Neal4. James Nash5. Mat Jackson6. Jason Plato7. Andrew Jordan8. Paul O'Neill9. Rob Austin10. Tom Onslow-ColeA full run-down of the top 20 will be published next week