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~The British Touring Car Championship~

(On the BTCC Grid in front of Gordon Shedden's Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R)

What's up guys and gals?! I recently flew over to England to watch the opening races of the British Touring Car Championship, a racing series that, last year, used my song Racecar as the music during the green flag laps for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd races of the season. I've been an avid fan of the BTCC for a long time, and a gearhead even longer, so I was thrilled to work with the BTCC and make so many different friends and fans along the way!

(In the Honda / Halfords Yuasa Racing Garage before the grid walk | Bomber Jacket custom designed and made by myself and my mom!)

The first 3 races of the championship this year happened at Brands Hatch, with qualifying on Saturday and the races on Sunday. I spent most of my time with my friends over at Halfords Yuasa Racing, a team backed by Honda which boasts 5 championship titles between two drivers - 3 to Matt Neal and 2 to Gordon Shedden.

(The Grand Prix Terrace - It has spectacular views of the start/finish line!)

(Inside the Honda / Halfords Yuasa Racing Garage during Qualifying)

Now Matt Neal is known for a lot of things - his miraculous win as an independent driver in 1999 which netted him a £250,000 prize, his 25 years in the British Touring Car Championship, his 3 Championship titles (won in 2005, 2006, and 2011), but most notably for being ridiculously tall. That sounds like a punchline to a joke, but really, every time he gets out of his car you go "Oh man I forgot about that!"

A conservative estimate puts him at around 6'7", which he often jokes was far too tall to fit into a Formula 1 car, unless they started building them like American dragsters. As proof that I'm not messing about, as they say, below is a picture of me and Matt after he took a 2nd place in race 3. For reference, I'm 5'8" and wearing 3" heels.

(Myself and Matt Neal after he took 2nd place in Race 3 at Brands Hatch)

When I wasn't spending my time with the lads at Honda, I was visiting some of my other friends. Aiden Moffat, who holds the record for being the youngest person to ever drive in the BTCC, was kind enough to invite me into his garage to take a look at his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A-Class - which I'll point out now is a car we don't get here in the States!

(Myself and Aiden Moffat in the Laser Tools Racing Garage | Photo by Mike Inkley)

(Myself and Aiden Moffat in the Laser Tools Racing Garage | Photo by Mike Inkley)

Laser Tools Racing is a 1-car, independent operation headed by Aiden's dad Bob, who is by far one of the funniest people I've ever met, though Aiden is inclined to laughingly disagree. I don't blame him however, as I also have a "very funny" father, or so people tell me!

(In Aiden Moffat's Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A-Class | Photo by Mike Inkley)

(In Aiden Moffat's Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A-Class | Photo by Mike Inkley)

Aiden and his team were even nice enough to let me sit in his touring car, which is something I've never done before! I was shocked to see how low the seats were, though I was informed by Aiden that some drivers mount their seats even lower than his, in the hopes of some minute performance boost through better weight distribution.

(Aiden gives me a rundown of the inner workings of his Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A-Class | Photo by Mike Inkley)

I think you can tell by the look on my face, but this was really the highlight of my Saturday! Aiden and the Laser Tools Racing team were wonderfully warm and inviting and I'll have to be sure to spend some time in their garage the next time I'm back! As a side note, the livery for this car is absolutely stunning! Laser Tools have gone for a bright blue metallic this year that I wish I had on a pair of stilettos! It's fantastically eye-catching and photographs really well, and I can only hope that we see more of it (and Aiden of course) at the front of the grid this year!

(On the grid on Sunday in front of Aiden Moffat's Laser Tools Racing Mercedes A-Class | Photo by Darren Hurrell)

(MG/Triple 8 Driver Ashley Sutton and myself before qualifying)

I also was able to catch up with MG/Triple 8 driver and 2015 UK Clio Cup Champion, Ashley Sutton, who's new to the BTCC this year. Ash is one of the nicest guys on the grid, and I became a fan of his after listening to him talk about his struggles of the previous years on Tin Top Tuesday. Everyone agrees he's one to watch this year!

Now for a couple of non-racing drivers!

(Alan Hyde and Myself at Brands Hatch after Race 3)

Alan Hyde is a radio personality-extrordinaire! He does live commentary and interviews during the races for the local track radio and hosts a radio show called Tin Top Tuesday, which airs the Tuesday after every race weekend. (You can listen to it HERE!) I've been a guest on TTT twice, once at the beginning of last season and again at the beginning of this season, and each time is more hilarious than the last! Al's one of my bffs, and also an all-around awesome person! I'd tell you to say hello to him if you see him, but he spends every race weekend dashing around from garage to garage interviewing the drivers and giving updates, so honestly you'd have better luck trying to catch up to a touring car on the last lap of a race!

Here's a rather hilariously blurry pic of 1992 Touring Car Champion and ITV commentator Tim Harvey, who I've had the pleasure of meeting once! Unfortunately wasn't able to catch up with him this time, but it was worth a mention!

(Richard Tait-Harris, Steve Thomas and myself before qualifying)

(Richard Tait-Harris and myself before qualifying)

I have to also give a shout out to Rich and Steve, who work with Honda / Team Dynamics / Halfords Yuasa Racing! I became friends with them at the beginning of last year and they're both part of what makes the team so fantastic (and run so smoothly!) I really don't have a bad word to say about anyone from Honda, the team is an incredibly professional and well oiled machine, yet you can tell everyone really cares about each other. It's one of the things that makes Honda a fan favorite!

I hope you all enjoyed this blog! If you have the chance, check out the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, it really is everything a racing series should be! Check back next week for more!


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