An exhilarating ride in a BTCC Honda Civic with Matt Neal at the helm and a drive of the Formula TRS Single-Seater


September 28, 2014 By Mike Lee
Last updated on November 25, 2015

This is page 2 of 4. Please see page 1 here – The Launch of The 2015 Touring Car Experience

Matt Neal – Honda Yuasa Racing
Once I had had my taste of the V8 Touring car, I was then sat next to Matt Neal in his BTCC Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer. Matt made his BTCC debut at Silverstone in 1991 and has many accolades as a privateer and Independent BTCC race driver, having become the 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2000 BTCC Independent Drivers’ Champion, but on top of that, Matt Neal is also the 2005, 2006 and 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Drivers’ & Independent Drivers’ Champion. He has also competed in The European Touring Car Championships.

The car at the track was Matt’s actual BTCC race car and after I had literally squeezed into the seat on the now passenger side of the Civic (there isn’t normally a passenger seat for the race events), and had been strapped into the race seat via the racing harness, followed by a hello from Matt, we were heading down the track. And wow were we moving, the acceleration was rapid to say the least and the car felt like it was on rails and had super glue for its tyres. Matt was driving his BTCC Civic Tourer at full race speeds where possible and between wondering how we were still on the track at the speeds we were cornering at, I managed to watch some of his driving skills and the amount of work required was astonishing. I really take my hat off to these drivers, having the fitness to drive these cars and take the lateral G forces lap after lap. Again a big thanks to Matt Neal for an exhilarating ride around Donington’s circuit.

Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Tourer Specs:
Car: Honda Civic Tourer (2kw)
Structure: Custom Roll-Cage Designed & Built To BTCC NGTC Regulations By Team Dynamics Motorsport
Front Suspension: Penske Dampers Fitted With Eibach Springs Mounted To BTCC NGTC Sub-Frame
Rear Suspension: Penske Dampers Fitted With Eibach Springs Mounted To BTCC NGTC Sub-Frame
Wheels & Tyres: Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2 18″ Light Alloy Race Wheels Fitted With Dunlop BTCC Race Tyres
Front Brakes: AP Racing Calipers & Discs
Rear Brakes: AP Racing Calipers & Discs
Engine Type: Honda Civic Type-R K20 Tuned By Neil Brown Engineering Ltd
Intake System: Turbo Charged
Displacement: 2000cc
Valve Train: Twin Overhead Camshaft 16-Valve VTEC
Estimated Horsepower: 300+
Estimated Torque: 300+Nm
Estimated Top Speed: 150mph
Transmission: Xtrac 1046 6-Speed Sequential
Clutch: AP Racing Carbon
Battery: Yuasa Lithium-Ion
Induction System: Induction Technology Group Filter & Housing
Safety: Cobra Ultralite With Schroth Harnesses

Andrew Jordan – Pirtek Racing
Of course there was another BTCC Champion driver at the track, Andrew Jordan in his family run Pirtek Honda Civic who was also taking passengers on hot laps around Donington. Andrew Jordan’s accolades include being Junior Rally cross Champion in 2003, BTRDA Junior Rally cross Champion in 2004, British, BTRDA & Super Series Junior Rally cross Champion, Ginetta Winter Series Champion in 2005, British Rally cross Supercar Champion in 2007, Dunlop MSA BTCC Independent Drivers’ Champion in 2012 and the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Drivers’ & Independents’ Champion for 2013 when he was just 24 year of age!

Pirtek Racing Honda Civic Specs:
Car Type: Honda Civic NGTC
Structure Frame: Honda
Suspension: Penske Dampers (specified by Toca)
Wheels and Tyres: 18″ wheels
Brakes: 6 Pot AP
Engine Type: Neil Brown developed Honda engine
Horse Power: 350bhp
Transmission: Xtrac sequential 6 speed gearbox with flat shift
Other info: NGTC – Toca provide common subframes, suspension, dampers, wiring, electronics, brakes and gearbox to try and give a more level playing field

The Racing school said:
“Our mission at THE RACING SCHOOL is to transform dreams into reality,” commented Managing Director Peter Barnes. “Touring cars resonate with the public because they see superstar drivers racing wheel-to-wheel in cars derived from everyday production models. The Touring Car Experience will bring fans closer to their heroes than ever before.”

The Touring Car Experience will be available at Donington Park. Price: £849.

Driving The Formula TRS Single Seater
The launch was just a taster, essentially a preview of what was going to be on offer and therefore the racing Porsche Carrera, Ginetta GT4 and Renault Clio cars were not yet ready. But I did get to drive the Formula TRS Single-Seater. The single seater has a 115 bhp 1800cc Ford Zetec engine, giving a top speed of 145 mph, will get to 60 in 4.8 seconds. The TRS also uses a 4 Speed Manual crash gearbox, which takes a bit of getting used to, oh and there’s no ABS or traction control. For this drive you are obviously on your own, however you do follow a pace car and if you keep up with them they will get progressively quicker to allow you to experience just some of that real single seater racing as safely as possible. I can only describe the drive itself as being like sitting in an upscale go-kart. With it’s low centre of gravity and 4 wheels stuck out at each corner, it cornered flat with very little, if any sense of roll and I felt I could have given it a lot more stick around the track than I did. I would have liked a few more laps to get use to the crash gearbox and it’s cornering characteristics, as it was both an excellent bit of fun and gave me a taste of some genuine racing senses – ace! Continue Reading:

Continue Reading:
Page 1 Launch of The 2015 Touring Car Experience
Page 3 Our Multiple Supercar Experience
Page 4 Donington Park and The Racing School