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NGTC Civic makes test début

Honda Racing and their drivers, triple Champion Matt Neal and rapid Scottish driver Gordon Shedden are giving their 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship challenger its first public run at Brands Hatch, Kent today, with a further test on Thursday at Donington Park.

With the start of the 2012 campaign less than six weeks away, both Shedden and Neal will be pushing the new Civic, built to the series NGTC regulations to the max to ensure that it is as competitive as possible when the 2012 Championship kicks off at Brands Hatch over the 31 March/1 April.

The Brands Hatch testing follows a successful preliminary test at the MIRA test track last week, having undergone extensive systems checks before Neal and the team got used to the new car and ensured that it was safe to be used on a track.

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2011 Champion Neal reckons that at the end of the day, they’ll leave Brands Hatch with a Championship winning car, having been pleased with the results of the MIRA testing.

He said:  “This is the first opportunity we have had to get behind the wheel to really see what the car has got. The team are really pleased with the results from the test at MIRA last week and I can’t wait to finally start putting the car through its paces.

“It will be interesting to see how the car performs, but I’m optimistic that we’ll walk away from today confident we have a championship winning car.”

For team-mate Shedden, he can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of a race car, having not sat in the car since the end of the 2011 campaign. The popular Scotsman added: “The feedback on the new Civic NGTC car so far is incredibly promising and I’ve been itching to get into the car since the end of the 2011 season. Like Matt mentioned, this is the first time we have had to really push the car and I’m looking forward to putting it into action.”

“The team have all been working incredibly hard since the start of the NGTC programme back in August so everybody’s very excited to see the new car on track for the first time,” added Peter Crolla, Honda Racing Team manager.

“It’ll be interesting from the point of view of both drivers and engineers to see how the car behaves on a track where we were very competitive with the S2000 Civic and we can really start to understand and develop the new car.

“The main aim for the day will be to establish a baseline set-up for the car which we can then tune for the various circuits we visit during the season.  Initial feedback from the MIRA shakedown was positive so we’re hoping to continue that today and cover some valuable mileage with both Matt and Gordon behind the wheel”.

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