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Matt Neal ahead of 700th BTCC start: ‘Quality of the field’ keeps motivation high

Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal believes the “quality of the field” keeps his motivation high as he is set to start his 700th British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park today.

The triple champion – who runs the number 700 on his Team Dynamics-run FK8 Honda Civic Type R in tribute this weekend – will tally his 700th start in race two of the day in Cheshire.

Neal told ITV that the “fire still burns pretty ferociously inside” particularly with the level of competition that the BTCC currently enjoys.

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“I think your bones ache a little bit more, it just makes me feel a little bit old! That’s all. The fire still burns pretty ferociously inside me,” he said.

“The quality of the field is pretty strong at the minute so it just makes your job harder so you just get on with it.

“I haven’t been counting numbers, or counting races or years, it’s gone ever so quick – too quick in fact!”

Reflecting on his series debut in support of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1991, Neal observed the shift towards younger drivers competing in modern motorsport compared to when he started out in the series.

“I was just enjoying the moment, I came in in the round of the British Grand Prix which sadly we don’t have any more,” he said.

“You just wanted to do the best you could, I think as a young driver you had respect for the older guys because you had to climb the ladder.

“I think when I had my first race I was the only driver under the age of 30, and that’s really changed now with all forms of motorsport.”

The opening British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Oulton Park gets underway at 12:25 BST, while Neal will make his 700th start in race two at 14:50 BST.

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