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Honda switches focus to Tourer for 2014

Honda Yuasa Racing confirmed its plans for the 2014 British Touring Car Championship season earlier today, with both Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal staying on for another season with the squad.

The reigning teams’ and manufacturers’ champions, who ran the ninth-generation Civic in 2012 and 2013, will switch to a brand-new NGTC Civic Tourer model for the upcoming season in a bid to reclaim the drivers’ championship.

The new model, which is not available as a road car until early next year will be the only estate car on the BTCC grid next season but Shedden, the 2012 champion and 2013 runner-up expects the car to be just as competitive as its predecessor.

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“2013 was an incredibly competitive season in the BTCC with the championship battle going right down to the wire! Of course it was disappointing not to retain the drivers title but we’re looking forward to what I’m sure will be a strong year for the team in 2014 – and more excitingly, with a new car,” he said. “It might be a Tourer, but it’s still a Civic, the car that has won every championship in BTCC for the last three seasons. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of next season, and to seeing what the Tourer can do on race day.”

Three-time champion Neal, who controlled much of the 2013 season before falling away in the final rounds, was equally excited to get his hands on the latest machinery.

“We’re all confident that the car can continue the long-standing success of the Civic in the championship and very much looking forward to putting it through its paces.

“Although we’re racing a new model, the inherent advantages of the Civic hatchback from the past two years remain so there’s no reason why this car can’t be a winner straight out of the box! We’ll be testing the car early in the new year and I can’t wait to see it on track,” said Neal.

The Civic will take to the track in January when the team commences its pre-season testing schedule, before heading to Brands Hatch for the opening round of the 2014 BTCC season on 29th/30th March.

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