Matt Neal: Donington’s the place to be for BTCC in 2017!
British Touring Car star Matt Neal believes Donington Park is the place to be to see the best BTCC action at the start of 2017.
The circuit hosts the traditional Season Launch Day for the series on March 16th before holding the second round of the championship over Easter Weekend (15-16 April).
“There’s a lot of BTCC action to see at Donington next year,” said Neal, who was at the circuit today to support leading drivers of the Scottish Mini Cooper Cup, who were receiving a prize test at the wheel of a Team Dynamics Mini Challenge JCW racer. “The Season Launch should not be missed by anyone who loves touring cars. It’s the first time anyone is able to really show what deck of cards they’ve got ahead of the season and to show their hand, and for the fans it’s great as they can see all the new drivers, the new liveries, the new cars on track for the first time.”
The three time champion is hoping for another strong season next year after a strong 2016 which yielded three wins, including one at Donington, and still being in championship contention heading to the final round. “I feel good at the minute, 2016 went really well for me although it didn’t end so well at Brands Hatch, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“We’re not sitting still over the winter, we’re already working hard. We’re going to run the same car next year, but that doesn’t mean we’re putting them in cotton wool over the winter. The Honda Civic Type-R chassis is having an upgrade as is the engine, because I think we were lucky to win the title this year with Flash [Gordon Shedden] and no one stands still in the BTCC, so we’re going to have to work hard to retain our trophies.
“I’m looking forward to the rounds at Donington on Easter Weekend, I’ve had a lot of good times here, including my first BTCC win in 1999, and it’s always a circuit that promotes good racing and good crowds as well.”
And expect to hear news of the Halfords Honda Yuasa team in testing action at Donington in the new year, judging by Neal’s glowing appraisal of test days at the circuit. “Testing is great here as you get an open test day, so everyone gets plenty of track time. It’s a challenging track too with lots of high speed sections and good technical stuff as well. It’s one of the classic circuits, but also location wise, being right in the middle of the country, it’s ideal and easy for everyone to get to.”
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park on Easter Weekend (15-16 April) are on sale now. Click here for more information.