2 FEBRUARY 22 2012 motorsport-news.co.uk
IN THIS ISSUE
THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2809
“The team’s desire to improve is infectious”
P4 Caterham new boy Vitaly Petrov on F1 team switch
JACKSON BACK FOR BTCC TITLE ATTACK
Mat Jackson says team familiarity can be the key
NIKARA: “THE BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP IS MY TARGET”
Finnish ace gets an Citroën DS3 R3 for BRC title bid
BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP SPRINGS BACK
MN finds out everything about the two-wheel future
Historic race and rally news
Insight:Ford Fiesta Junior
Insight:Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge 22 Profile:Matt Bell 23 Preview:British Rally Championship 24 Report:Snowman Rally 28 Rally reports 29 Sporting Scene round-up 30 Karting round-up 32 Letters/Comment/What’s On 34 SUBSCRIBETOMOTORSPORTNEWS 36 Classifieds 37 Wanted:Boxing-style spat between MG and Honda at pre-season weigh-in
FORMOTORSPORT NEWS STAFF CONTACT DETAILS PLEASE SEE P35
Classified advertising: 0208 267 5355
Champion buoyed after first test with
NEAL : “I WILL BE
UICK OUT OF THE BOX” ByMatt James British touring car champion Matt Neal believes that his new Honda Civic BTCC challenger will win this season’s title after his first run in the car.
Honda Racing Team ace Neal drove the two-litre turbocharged car at the Motor Industry Research Association’s test track in Leicestershire last week and said that the reworked car, which is built to the Next Generation Touring Car regulations, can be awinner. Neal will race the TeamDynamics built and run car alongside team-mate Gordon Shedden. “This car feels amazing already,” said Neal. “It is so planted to the road and it is clear that it has masses of grip. That is going to give me confidence to push in the races.” Neal said that the early start to the test work will help the Japanese manufacturer steal amarch on the others over the opening part of the season: “Wewould have gone to Spain to test, but the weather here has been mild so we are going to try and get as many days in the UKas possible. Wewant to bemore than ready when the season begins.”
The opening round of the 2012 Dunlop MSABritish Touring Car Championship will take place at Brands Hatch onMarch 31/April 1.
Gordon Shedden (left) and Matt Neal will battle for the 2012 series
Champ’s aero work Neal said that the day’s running at MIRAwasable to give Team Dynamics a good baseline for the model that will be used in 2012.
TheHonda has been reworked since the victorious campaign in 2011. The Japanese firm has introduced a new-shape roadgoing Civic and the Honda Racing Team has taken the chance to build a brand newNext Generation Touring Car as a result.
The newNGTCrules, which will continue to be phased in over the course of 2012, require teams to use a raft of controlled parts in an effort to keep a lid on costs within the UK’s blue riband tin-top championship.
The cars will feature amandated gearbox, brakes, clutch, electronics and subframes among other standardised parts. Neal explained: “We did some runs on the intermediate layout at MIRA and that is a faster track where you can really learn about the straightline speed and the aerodynamics of the car. It felt pretty good out of the box even though some of the parts on the car are still development ones until we get the final bits.
THE CIVIC INTHE BTCC
2002:The Honda Racing team, which is run by Mike Earle’s Arena International operation, builds two top flight Type Rs for Andy Priaulx and Alan Morrison. Priaulx takes the hatchback’s first win at Knockhill (below) and is fifth in the points while Morrison scores a victory in the final round of the season and is ninth. Wins:2
and (below) Knockhill at win first hatchback’s the takes in victory a scores Morrison while points the in fifth is the of round final the is and season ninth.
2003:Morrison is joined by Matt Neal and Tom Chilton in the works team. Neal is third in the points with six wins. Morrison is fifth while Chilton is ninth. Wins: 6
2004: Honda withdraws as a factory team. Arena continues to field a car for Chilton. Team
Dynamics builds up two versions for Neal and Dan Eaves. Neal is fifth in the points, Eaves eighth and Chilton ninth. Wins: 4
2005:As Dynamics swaps to running the Integra, only Chilton’s Arena car remains. Four wins for Chilton help him to fifth in the standings. Wins:4 Classified advertising: 0208 267 5355
0208 267 5355
new-spec touring car new-spec touring car motorsport-news.co.uk FEBRUARY 22 2012 3
Photos: Jakob Ebrey, LAT, Honda Racing
Racing Honda LAT, Ebrey, Jakob Photos: Racing Honda LAT, Ebrey, Jakob Photos:
All-time BTCC manufacturers wins POS DRIVER POINTS
2 Vauxhall 130 3 Honda 121 4 Chevrolet 110 5 BMW 66 6 Jaguar 51 7 Seat 44 8 Renault 38 9 Rover 33 10 Nissan 25
Wind tunnel tests have helped to refine new Civic
Neal gave his new machine a shakedown at MIRA
“The power of the engine was good, and I was so impressed with the way the car generated grip. There are some small niggling problems that you get from any new car, but none of them are related to the bits that TeamDynamics has built and they didn’t stop us from completing a full day of running.
“We know how to build title-winning cars because we did it with the S2000 Civic and before that with the Honda Integra. I expect this car to be able to do the same.”
Quick out of the box TheHonda Racing Team started work on its 2012 machine back in November last year and that means it has amuch bigger lead in time to the 2012 season than any of its rivals.
The new factory MGprogramme was only revealed at the end of January, although Triple Eight Race Engineering has been working on the twoMG6 challengers since just before Christmas. Other teams will be starting with a combination of new cars or older S2000 cars with newspecification engines. Neal said: “By starting our build programme with the new car very early, it gives us a number of positives.
It means that we have been through all the issues with building up a new car, and there were a few, and it also means that wewill be able to get plenty of miles on it before the first rounds of the season.”
The turbo boost levels of the NGTCcars will be increased in 2012 to encourage the competitiveness of the machines. The cars also use bigger wheels and tyres, and Neal said that the initial running would be used to get on top of the new regulations.
“We have worked hard on the engine mapping and we are playing with the boost levels to see how that affects the handling of the car,” said Neal. “We want to improve the engine mapping to give us a better power delivery with more boost while working on the durability of the engine.
“The bigger tyres also mean that we have to think about tyre wear and the weight of the car, so there is plenty to learn that you are only able to do by putting miles on the car. That means we are going to get a head start on the others by actually being out there on the circuit. I amoptimistic that the groundwork that we have already been able to domeans that wewill have a title-winning car on our hands.”
2006: James Kaye and Mark Proctor represent the model in smaller teams, and Kaye scores a remarkable podium finish at Oulton Park. Wins: 0
2007:Team Dynamics launches the new-shape Civic (above) for Gordon Shedden and Neal to drive. Shedden finishes third while Neal is fourth in an impressive debut season. Wins: 5
2008:With Neal’s switch to Vauxhall, Chilton and Shedden lead the way for Honda. Shedden takes two triumphs but is only seventh while Chilton is ninth overall. Wins: 3
2009: Dynamics swaps between Shedden, Johnny Herbert and James Thompson for its lead Civic and Thompson takes three wins. Honda supports the team. Wins: 3
2010: The Honda Racing Team, as it is rechristened, takes second and third in the points as Neal is runner up. Wins:10
2011:Neal wins his third title with seven wins ahead of Shedden, (below) who takes six wins over the 30 races in the car, which is fitted with the new-spec twolitre turbocharged engine. Wins: 13
2012:Honda is the first manufacturer to fully commit to new-look Next Generation Touring Car rules.
NGTC Civic is a complete rework from last year’s car
The likely line-up for 2012 DRIVER TEAM-CAR
Jason Plato Triple Eight Race Engineering MG6 Andy Neate Triple Eight Race Engineering MG6 Andrew Jordan Pirtek Racing Honda Civic Jeff Smith Pirtek Racing Honda Civic Matt Neal Honda Racing Team Civic Gordon Shedden Honda Racing Team Civic Mat Jackson Motorbase Performance Ford Focus Aron Smith Motorbase Performance Ford Focus Liam Griffin Motorbase Performance Ford Focus Rob Collard WSRBMW320si Nick Foster WSRBMW320si Tom Onslow-Cole WSRBMW320si TBA Special Tuning Racing Seat Leon TBA Special Tuning Racing Seat Leon Lea Wood Central Group Racing Vauxhall
Dave Newsham ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra Chris James ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra TBA Techspeed Chevrolet Cruze TBA Techspeed Chevrolet Cruze TBA GSR BMW320si Tony Gilham TBA Honda Civic Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota Avensis Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota Avensis Adam Morgan Speedworks Toyota Avensis Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning VWGolf Rob Austin Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 TBA Rob Austin Racing Audi A4 John Thorne Thorney Motorsport Vauxhall
Dan Welch Welch Motorsport Proton Gen-2
Plato’s car will be a Triple Eight MG6
MAT JACKSON TO SPEARHEAD MOTORBASE ATTACK ON PAGE 6