Gordon Shedden is confident that he can send Scottish race fans home smiling as he attempts to strengthen his bid for a second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car title at Knockhill.
The Honda Yuasa Racing star has already tallied three career triumphs at the Fife venue, which he regards as his home track, and – perhaps more impressively - has finished on the podium in almost half of the races he has contested there. More of the same would be very welcome next weekend as he bids to close in on the top of the BTCC title standings.
“It's the one time each year that I get the opportunity to race in front of my home crowd, and I'd be lying if I said that didn't make a difference,” Shedden mused, “Scottish fans love their motorsport, and touring car racing has been a big part of that in the country over the decades.
“The atmosphere around the circuit is second-to-none. The crowds get so close to the action that they can almost touch the cars as they speed around the lap, which is just incredible. Their support does give you an extra spring in your step and is sometimes capable of making extraordinary things happen.”
Shedden sits second in the drivers' classification following the most recent outing at Snetterton, just 23 points shy of the championship lead, but is quick to acknowledge that the two circuits couldn't be more different – something that he hopes can play into the hands of the Honda Yuasa Racing team.
“Knockhill is an absolute rollercoaster ride that goes up-and-down and sends cars airborne on two wheels over the kerbs,” he noted, “That requires massive commitment and means you can't relax for even a moment, which is what generates such exciting racing.
“We are hopeful of being more competitive than we were at Snetterton, and the Civic Tourer's excellent brakes and high-speed stability will certainly play a role in that. It will be interesting to see how it all stacks up. The target is a big points haul, and I'm definitely going there with my eyes on the prize.”
Team-mate Matt Neal has also tasted success in Scotland, winning four times at Knockhill, and, after returning to the rostrum at Snetterton for the first time in almost three months, is eager to savour the champagne again next weekend.
“Knockhill is a great venue and, being the only track the championship visits in Scotland, we always receive a warm welcome – particularly 'Flash'!” the triple BTCC champion reflected, “It's a tight and twisty little circuit with plenty of undulation, which makes it a lot of fun from both a driver and spectator point-of-view.
“I've gone well at Knockhill in the past, and being light in qualifying there could make a real difference this year, because there will be literally nothing to separate the front-runners around such a short lap where track position is key. As at Snetterton, my primary objective will be to support 'Flash' as best I can.”