Halfords logos will return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2016 following a seven-year absence from the grid.
The automotive brand rejoins reigning champions as part of Team Halfords Yuasa Racing, backing an expanded three-car line-up featuring 2015 title-winner Gordon Shedden, team stalwart Matt Neal and new signing Andy Neate.
Halfords originally sponsored the Team Dynamics' motorsport programme for five years, between 2004-08, during which Neal claimed the first two titles of his 26-season BTCC career. The Briton became the first independent driver to win the overall drivers' championship, driving the iconic Honda Integra Type R, while Shedden joined the line-up in 2006, taking four wins to help Team Halfords to its second consecutive teams' championship title.
“Having worked with Halfords for five years in the past, winning two championships with Matt, we look forward to a long and successful future together," Team Dynamics commercial director Richard Tait-Harris commented, "We're also excited to be continuing our fantastic relationship with Yuasa Batteries and to the challenge of retaining our title as champions of the BTCC this year.”
The three Halfords Yuasa Racing entries will be equipped with the potent new K20C turbocharged engine, based on the unit in the road-going Civic Type R and built and tuned by Neil Brown Competition Engines, and the team has been lapping up the testing miles in recent weeks, both at home and abroad, including a week-long trip to Parcmotor Castellolí in Spain, enabling it to get a grip on the new RML control parts for this season with less than three weeks remaining until the lights go out at Brands Hatch for the first round.
“We are delighted to be rekindling our partnerships with Team Dynamics and Honda in the BTCC," the brand's Paul Tomlinson admitted, "The Team Halfords era is a key part of the sport's history, winning back-to-back drivers' and teams' championships in 2005 and 2006, and we're very much looking forward to renewed success over the coming seasons.
"The BTCC is one of the most exciting racing series in the world and we're thrilled to be part of it again. We're looking forward to laying down the gauntlet this season and bringing orange-and-black back to the grid with Team Dynamics, as well as our partner Yuasa Batteries, to defend the driver and manufacturer titles.”
The full livery of the new-look Honda Civic Type R's will be unveiled at the BTCC launch at Donington Park on 22 March, with Halfords and Yuasa sharing top billing in what seems likely to be a return to the iconic colour scheme used during the former's previous stint in the series. In the meantime, the cars will sport an interim orange-and-black livery for the remainder of the team's preparations.
“With the announcement of our sponsors and the launch of the car today, the only thing left to do before the start of the season is to reveal our new team livery," team manager James Rodgers concluded, "This is going to look very different from previous years and will make us stand out on the grid even more than usual. We are looking forward to media day and the start of the season.”