Honda Racing Team drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden were given a tour of Honda’s factory in Swindon ahead of the BTCC rounds at Brands Hatch this weekend.
This was a rare opportunity for the drivers to take a look behind the scenes and meet the people responsible for building the Civic – the car they both drive in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Matt Neal said: “I was blown away by the size of the site and the complexity of all the processes. It was actually a very surreal and calm atmosphere, like nothing you have ever seen before, even though I have worked all my life in manufacturing.”
Team-mate Gordon Shedden said: “You look at a car from the outside and don’t appreciate how it all goes together. With a car leaving the production line every 90 seconds, I thought it would be pandemonium but it was the complete opposite.”
From Swindon, the two drivers now head down to Brands Hatch and Honda Racing Team star Matt Neal, who moved up to second place in the standings after a double victory in the last rounds of the contest at Rockingham thinks this weekend’s third meeting will be the most competitive round of the series so far.
“We have already proved this season that our Honda Civic loves the fast corners and there are plenty of those at Brands Hatch”, said Neal. “The trouble is, there are so many quick cars in the field this season that you can’t take anything for granted, and this time I’ll be carrying 36 kilos of success ballast. I love the circuit though: it requires real commitment and bravery to get a quick time there and I am ready for the challenge.”
Team-mate Gordon Shedden took a second place behind Neal at Rockingham and he will be looking to put bad luck behind him in Kent this weekend.
“So far this season I have lost a win with a tyre problem at Thruxton and I had a hoard of BMWs trying to re-model Civic at Rockingham by ramming into me. I am desperate to turn the speed into good results. Things are looking up for Brands Hatch though: I love the undulation and the speed of the circuit, both of which play perfectly to the Honda’s strengths, so we are aiming for major success at the weekend!”
Fans will get the chance to meet Matt and Gordon in a Question of Motorsport Quiz Night, which is taking place at the Dockside outlet shopping centre in Gravesend on Saturday night (May 1).
After a resounding victory in the opening Question of Motorsport Quiz Night at Rockingham last weekend, Scotsman Shedden will be aiming for back-to-back victories but Matt Neal has recruited fellow BTCC ace and Honda driver Paul O’Neill in his quest to even up the score.
The two team-mates will go head-to-head in a test of their motor sporting knowledge in an event backed by the G&M Motors (Honda) dealer. The showdown will take place in the main entrance of Dockside, just outside the Honda Showroom on Saturday evening from 6.30pm. For more information, please visit http://www.docksideshopping.co.uk/.