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Gordon Shedden expecting to be ‘there or thereabouts’ in 2016

Honda’s Gordon Shedden admits that he faces a tough task to defend his British Touring Car Championship title in 2016, predicting competition from all angles in the coming season.

The Halfords Yuasa Racing driver, who took his second title in 2015, believes that competition will come not only from the new-look Team BMR camp, but from multiple teams this year.

“I know they [BMR] will be there or thereabouts – that’s not a drama, and the competition will come from all angles of the pitlane,” said Shedden to TouringCars.Net. “Everyone’s saying ‘BMR’ but what about West Surrey Racing, Motorbase, Ciceley or Eurotech, plus others? It just keeps on going.

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“We’ve always said bring on the competition. We all want to race against the best, we want a fair crack at it and as long as we have that then it’s happy days.

“I hope we’ll be there or thereabouts. Inevitably somebody will get the drop on everybody else, but I don’t think we’ll know exactly where everyone is until we get to Brands Hatch in qualifying trim. Then it will all sort itself out.”

The Scot admits that testing has been challenging during the off-season, with the new RML control components combined with the usual winter testing making it difficult to read into their form.

“Testing has honestly been quite mixed, due to understanding what we have bolted on to the car at the minute. It is different, it feels different and it responds differently. It’s been cold, wet and pretty grimy. You can set your car up for February but when you get to July you’ll be in all sorts of trouble.

“There is a lot of change – there’s a completely new engine in the car, we have obviously got all the new control parts from TOCA and a new paint scheme as well. I wouldn’t say we’re confident – confidence can quite quickly become complacency, but we’re trying to cover off as much as we can, as quickly as we can.”

Like some others in the paddock, Shedden also expressed his concern about the new boxer engine being used in BMR’s new Subaru Levorg.

“The engine is fine, that’s cool, it’s not a problem, but you have to put it in the car where the engine is, not in the middle of it or we’ll all go GT racing. But that’s not for us to decide. They’ve obviously done a fantastic job of engineering, you’ve got to say, but you’ve got to be comparing apples with apples.”

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