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Media test: Shedden: It's like starting all over again!

Defending British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden has likened the introduction of the RML control part package as the biggest shake up in rules since the emergence of the NGTC era.
Defending British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden admits he would have preferred the technical regulations to have remained the same for the 2016 season, having enjoyed such a strong end to his 2015 campaign.

A new raft of RML components has forced the teams into a relentless torrent of winter development in order to successfully understand and integrate the latest set of control parts to their machinery.

It's also back to future for Honda this season as all three of the Team Dynamics Civic Type-R's have reverted back to the infamous orange and black colour scheme, following Halfords return to the BTCC.

Shedden began his full-time BTCC career with Team Halfords back in 2006, winning a total of four races before finishing fourth in the championship.

"We've got another mainstream household brand coming back into touring cars, which shows the strength of the series to get Halfords back here. It's a little bit full circle for me, having obviously started with Halfords back in 2006. So there's obviously a lot of happy memories for me," Shedden told Crash.net.

"I would have preferred the rules to have stayed the same because we had a really good package at the end of the year last season. Inevitably, somebody somewhere will get the jump on everyone else with understanding how to make the new kit work. So then it's up to everyone else to file them out as the year goes on.”

"It's very different. It does a very similar thing in a very different way, which isn't a good nor a bad thing. But it does take a bit of getting your head around it."

Along with getting to grips with the RML add-ons, Honda have also introduced the new Neil Brown developed K20C engine, a piece of technology in which Shedden says also differs from its predecessor.

"It sounds like a Spitfire going past! I think the engine is totally different to anything else. Which is a good thing because it's something for the fans. It's great we've got this new technology in. It's a different engine to drive," Shedden continued.

"I don't think it achieves any more power than last year's engine did but it does have a slightly different way. We've looked at where we thought we needed to improve and we've tried to incorporate those elements into the design of the new engine as well. It's like starting again in NGTC 2012 all over again."

With Brands Hatch less than two weeks away, the Scot is confident Honda 'aren't a million miles away' from where they need to be despite his own effort not troubling the top of the timesheets during the Donington Park Media test.

“We are confident but a lot of the testing done over the winter has been pretty weather disrupted. The major benefit has been ironing out some of the reliability issues that you always have when you get new components. I don't think we'll be a million miles away,” said reigning champion.

“We're not here to break lap record today [Tuesday]. We're here to understand the car for the year that lies ahead. You can see there's a lot going on just to try and still understand if there's anything left that makes these cars work.”



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