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Gordon Shedden “under no illusions” about TCR challenge in prospect

Three-time British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden believes he heads into this weekend’s TCR International Series finale at the Dubai Autodrome “on the back foot”.

He also praised the championship for it’s high calibre of driving talent and technical staff as he prepares to make his debut on Saturday.

Deputising for Rob Huff who is otherwise engaged in the World Touring Car Championship event at Macau, Shedden will pilot the #73 Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR under the Leopard Racing Team WRT banner.

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His focus will be on assisting team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay to a maiden title success, with the Frenchmen some 21 points clear with 55 on offer across the double-header and qualifying this weekend.

His last overseas outing came in 2015 when he contested the Bathurst 12-Hour race behind the wheel of an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.

Shedden admitted getting to grips with his new chariot quickly will prove essential if he is to support Vernay’s bid for a maiden championship success.

“It’s a different car and the people in this championship are good. I’m under no illusions, these are proper teams and proper drivers and I’m on the back foot,” Shedden told in the paddock on Thursday.

“But hopefully over the course of the weekend I can begin to get my head around it and be there to support and do what I have to for Jean-Karl.

“In some respects, there’s less adjustability [with the Volkswagen]. One of things we’ve been used to all year is things being close, and I think it will be again here, there’s a lot of cars with different strengths.

“There’s a lot of similar concepts – at the end of the day, it’s a front-wheel drive touring car and I know what makes them tick.”

Despite his one-off appearance in the International Series, Shedden conceded that a lack of manufacturer alignment would halt any chance of him contesting a dual campaign in the forthcoming inaugural season of TCR UK alongside his BTCC commitments next season.

“It looks like quite interesting times for the whole TCR concept, obviously everyone is waiting to see what happens with 2018 on an international scale and there’s definite interest from that point of view.

“Realistically, I don’t think I would do it in the UK because I need a manufacturer alignment, really, and I won’t be able to get that – Honda’s programme in the UK is BTCC.”

The Scot forecasted fireworks ahead of the season finale and expects the 2.46 kilometre circuit to produce a good spectacle.

“I think the circuit is going to lend itself to good racing, there’s some great opportunities for slipping past so it should be pretty exciting.”

The final two rounds of the 2017 TCR International Series can be streamed via TCR TV on YouTube, with the races starting at 06:40 and 11:05 this Saturday [18th November] respectively.

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