Honda have announced Andy Neate is joining their BTCC team for the 2016 season alongside Triple champion Matt Neal and double champion Gordon Shedden
all driving the latest specification of the NGTC spec Civic Type R.
The team announced they would be running a third car after acquiring a third licence from TOCA last year and the announcement ends a winter of speculation about the identity of the third driver.
Honda are looking to have a successful 2016 after taking both the drivers and manufacturers titles last season when Shedden beat rival Jason Plato by four points in the final race of the season at Brands Hatch. Brands is the venue once again when the season begins again on the first weekend in April.
Andy Neate made his BTCC debut in 2005 at the final round driving a Vauxhall Astra Coupe. He returned in 2010 driving a BMW 3 series for WSR. For 2011 He switched to Team Aon (Arena) driving one of their Ford Focus. Then in 2012 he was given a seat for works team MG KX Momentum Racing in their MG6GT, his best season to date. For 2013 he started his own team, IP Tech Racing driving an RML built Chevrolet Cruze but various issues forced him out before the end of the season. Now, after two seasons away, he returns in the Honda, his second works team in his BTCC career.
James Rodgers, Team Manager at Team Dynamics, commented on the reasons for having Andy in a third car; “We are delighted to have signed Andy to take on the third car and help our team point scoring capabilities for this season. The trend for increasing numbers of cars in teams has meant we are very keen to bolster our presence on the grid this year. Andy joins the Honda works team with plenty of experience to build on and a hunger for podium places, which is just what we are after.”
Andy Neate is eager to get started; “Like Matt, I’ve been involved with multiple teams in British Touring Cars and so bring with me a wealth of understanding and familiarity of the championship. I’m really excited to be working alongside two of the greats in Matt and Flash and it will be brilliant to have team mates that I can learn so much from.
“The car looked epic last year and I am sure this year will be no different. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and begin to support Honda in achieving back to back manufacturers’ championships, and of course be challenging for those hard fought podiums.”
The Honda team are testing this week (beginning 8th February 2016) in Spain at the Castelloli circuit.
By Marc Waller