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New Honda Tourer tests alongside BTCC rivals at Snetterton

Tuesday, February 25 2014

Honda Racing tested the new Civic Tourer at Snetterton today (Tuesday), as part of their preparations for the upcoming Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, which kicks off at Brands Hatch on 29/30 March.

Honda's Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden were joined by Pirtek and BTCC newcomers United Autosports on track today. Airwaves Racing is due to join United Autosports at the circuit tomorrow, with eBay Motors scheduled to test on Thursday.

The Civic Tourer will be the first works estate car to contest the BTCC since the famous Volvo 850 from 20 years ago. Triple champion Matt Neal has admitted that the shape was chosen purely for marketing reasons, however it will present an intriguing story for the forthcoming season, especially since reigning champion Andrew Jordan's Pirtek team is sticking with the hatchback model.

Matt is also honest when it comes to assessing his new challenger. "It's very different," he said between stints at the wheel. "It's still early days yet with the Tourer, we thought it would be similar with the same wheelbase, and we have a different engine this year to work with"

Early testing has revealed a few issues, however, the team is making progress, although Matt is still guarded when pressed on whether the car will be competitive at Brands Hatch next month: "If you had asked me that a week ago the answer would have been no, however now we are more on top of it. It's going to be a challenge, Team Dynamics' previous three cars; the Integra, the older S2000 Civic  and the NGTC Civic have all won on the first race weekends of the season, so it's definitely going to be a challenge."

Matt feels that the 300 circuit has assisted the car's development: "Snetterton has a bit of everything; two high speed corners, it's great for braking capabilities, the circuit helps with chassis setup too."

Testing at Snetterton this week is free to spectators. Gates open at 8am and close at 5pm, whilst Tyrrells Restaurant is open each day from 7:30am to 5pm.

Tickets for the 2014 rounds at Brands Hatch Indy, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Brands Hatch GP are now on sale from £26 and you can find out more and order them by clicking the links for each circuit. Money-saving season passes are also available. Click here for more details.