Team Dynamics - family business converted into premium racing squad
Team Dynamics Motorsport is a British racing team which currently operates Honda factory program in the British Touring Car Championship. It’s one of the most decorated teams in the BTCC, with six overall drivers’ titles, four independent drivers’ titles and six teams’ championship titles. The drivers who claimed drivers’ championship title for the team were Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden, three times each.
The team, which is based in Pershore, Worcestershire, was founded by former BSCC driver Steve Neal and active driver Ray Bellm as Rimstock Racing in 1991. In 1993, following Vic Lee Motorsport’s liquidation after owner Vic Lee’s drug scandal, the assets of the team were taken over by Steve Neal and Ray Bellm. They merged two teams into one, creating Team Dynamics. Bellm would sell his share in the team later in the year, leaving Steve Neal as the only owner.
Matt Neal and the team debuted in the 1991 BTCC season
Following their BTCC debut in the 1991 season, at Silverstone Circuit in June, Steve’s son Matt Neal and Rimstock Racing entered their first full-season in 1992, running the #12 BMW M3. In the last round, they switched to BMW 318is. In his first full season, Matt Neal finished 16th in the overall standing and as a runner-up in the TOCA Challenge Cup for Privateers, after scoring six wins among independent drivers.
Maiden championship title for Neal in 1993
The first championship trophy came to Team Dynamic’s garage at the end of 1993, when Matt Neal captured a title in the TOCA Challenge Cup for Privateers. He scored four wins in Privateer class driving the #13 BMW 318is in the first twelve rounds and switching to BMW 318i at the end of the season.
In the overall standings, Neal was in the 20th place. The team had three cars for most of the season, ending a year with two entries. Other drivers were Ray Bellm and Alex Portman, with Andy Wallace participating in one race.
Another Privateers’ title after one-year break
The team skipped the 1994 BTCC season, with Matt Neal driving for Mazda that year. In 1995, Team Dynamics returned to the championship with #77 Ford Mondeo, driven by Matt Neal. He easily won the Total Cup for Privateers, being the best independent driver in fourteen races. In the overall classification, he scored points two times and finished 21st in the final standings.
In 1996, the team expanded to two Fords, the #77 for Matt Neal and the #27 for Robb Gravett. The team attempted an ambitious project of developing its own Ford Mondeo, but a car wasn’t competitive and they scored only four independent’s wins.
Two independents’ titles with Nissan Primera
In 1997, the team had one car only, the #77 Ford Mondeo for Matt Neal. After five rounds with just two race wins, they switched to Nissan Primera eGT. Until the end of the season, Neal scored four more independent’s wins. Better results followed in 1998, but Neal was again far from winning the Independents’ Cup although he won eleven times.
Finally, in 1999, Neal has won his third Cup for Independent drivers. It was an exceptional season because Neal also scored his first outright victory, winning the race at Donington Park. TOCA gave him a reward of £250,000 for this achievement. One more championship-winning season followed in 2000, with Matt Neal in the #9 Nissan Primera GT. Neal scored one more outright victory, in August 2000 at Brands Hatch.
Podium at 1998 Bathurst 1000
During the 1990s, the team had an occasional appearances in some other competitions, such were the non-championship DTM round at Donington Park in 1993 (with BMW 318i), the 1994 FIA Touring Car World Cup at Donington Park (with Mazda 323F) or 1995 FIA Touring Car World Cup at Circuit Paul Ricard (with Ford Mondeo).
Leaving BTCC in 2001, winning titles in rallying
In 2001, Team Dynamics left BTCC. That year, the championship underwent major changes, abandoning Supertouring rules and introducing two new classes BTC-T and BTC-P. Matt Neal left the team to drive for RJN Motorsport in the 2001 European Super Touring Championship.
Team Dynamics switched from touring cars to rally cars, sponsoring Jonny Milner in the British Rally Championship and preparing Toyota Corolla WRC for him. Milner captured BRC titles for two years in a row (2002 and 2003). In 2004, he switched to Team Dynamics- prepared Subaru Impreza S8 WRC, finishing sixth in the championship.
Comeback to BTCC in 2003
After almost three years out of BTCC, Team Dynamics returned to the premium touring car competition in four last rounds of the 2003 season, running the #45 Vauxhall Astra Coupe for Gareth Howell. He was good, finishing in the points three times, with sixth place at Oulton Park as his best result with the team.
2004 – the first season with Honda
In 2004, Matt Neal departed Honda works team and returned to his family team, bringing two Honda Civic Type-Rs with him. Another driver was Dan Eaves, who brought Halfords sponsorship. The team was running as Computeach Racing with Halfords.
Matt Neal scored three overall wins with #3 Honda, Eaves added one more victory in the #4 car. At the end of the season, Matt Neal was fifth in the overall standings and fourth among independent drivers.
Two championship titles in 2005 with Honda Integra Type R
In 2005, Team Dynamics/Team Halfords gambled by replacing Honda Civic Type R with own-built Honda Integra Type R, retaining Matt Neal and Dan Eaves as drivers. A third car was entered late in the season for Gareth Howell in order to support Neal’s title campaign.
And they succeed, winning both drivers’ championship title for Matt Neal and teams’ championship title, beating factory teams of Vauxhall and Seat. Neal was on the top podium spot six times, Eaves added five wins and Howell one victory.
Gordon Shedden joined the team in 2006
For the 2006 season, Gordon Shedden graduated from Seat Cupra Championship to the BTCC and joined Team Halfords to drive the #52 Integra Type-R, replacing Dan Eaves. Matt Neal was driving the #1 car. The third car for Gareth Howell entered the last four rounds.
The team defended all titles in 2006
The team successfully defended all titles they took the year before – both outright and independent titles in the Teams and Drivers’ categories. Matt Neal was the race winner eight times. Shedden added four wins to finish fourth in the points. Gareth Howell was also a race winner, two times in the season-closing round at Silverstone.
Three seasons without championship titles
In 2007, Team Dynamics/Team Halfords switched to Honda Civic, based on the 8th generation of Japanese car and built under S2000 regulations. Both Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden stayed with the team, finishing fourth and third in the points. The team was no longer among independents, finishing third in the overall classification.
In 2008, Matt Neal and Tom Chilton switched positions, with Neal moving to Vauxhall and Chilton joining Team Halfords. Gordon Shedden stayed in the #52 Honda. The team again finished third overall, with Shedden seventh in the drivers’ points.
In 2009, without Halfords sponsorship, Team Dynamics finished fifth in the final standings. Veteran David Pinkney was a full-time driver in the #55 Honda, three drivers were driving the #52 car: Gordon Shedden, James Thompson and Johnny Herbert.
2010 – first title as manufacturer’s entry
In 2010, Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden were reunited in the team, for the first with factory support and running under the Honda Racing Team banner. Silverline Chevrolet’s Jason Plato took the drivers’ title, with Matt Neal in the second place and Gordon Shedden behind him. Honda drivers scored ten wins and won both the Manufacturers/Constructors and Teams championships.
Clean sweep of BTCC titles in 2011
Team’s dominance continued into 2011, in the first year of the NGTC 2.0 liter turbocharged engines. Honda Racing Team’s Civic scored thirteen wins and Matt Neal claimed his third BTCC title in a career. He won seven races, Shedden added six wins to finish as a runner-up. The team also successfully defended both the Manufacturers/Constructors and Teams championships.
Maiden title for Shedden in 2012
Another clean sweep of titles followed in 2012, under the name of Honda Yuasa Racing. This time, Gordon Shedden was more successful, winning his maiden BTCC title. He was the race winner eight times, against five wins of Matt Neal, who finished in the second place. Honda Yuasa Racing’s Civic was the first car built fully to the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) specification.
Neal and Shedden were among the front-runners in following seasons, scoring nine wins for Honda in 2013 and four wins in 2014, but they took only one title, in the 2014 Teams’ standings.
Two more championship titles for Shedden
Gordon Shedden claimed two more championship titles in 2015 and 2016, beating Jason Plato in 2015 and Sam Tordoff in 2016. The Scotsman scored four wins in 2015 and four wins in 2016. Matt Neal added three wins to Honda’s account in 2015 to secure Manufacturer/Constructors’ title.
A year later, Neal was a race winner three times again but this time, the Halfords Yuasa Racing didn’t take either Manufacturers’ or Teams’ title.
The next generation of Neals are ready to race
In a recent time, Team Dynamics is also running cars for the next generation of Neal racers, Matt Neal’s sons William and Henry. Both of them are competing in the British Mini Challenge, Henry since 2015 and Williams as the 2017 season’s rookie.