Matt Neal


Matt Neal
Matt Neal
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born December 20, 1966 (1966-12-20) (age 44)
Stourbridge (England)
2011 British Touring Car Championship
Debut season 1991
Current team Honda Racing Team
Car no. 2
Former teams VX Racing
Peugeot
Mazda
Tech-Speed Motorsport
Pyramid Motorsport
Starts 429
Wins 43
Poles 14
Fastest laps 40
Best finish 1st in 2005, 2006, 2011
Previous series
2001 European Super Touring
Championship titles
200506, 2011 BTCC
Awards
BRDC Silver Star

Matthew Neal (born 20 December 1966 in Stourbridge) is a British motor racing driver. He won the British Touring Car Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2011. He has also won a European Touring Car Championship race. He is 6' 6" (2 m) tall, making him almost entirely unable to race single-seaters. He is also the Group Marketing Director at Rimstock plc, the alloy wheel manufacturer founded by his father Steve.[1]

Contents

Career

Neal demonstrates his Honda Integra at the 2005 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

He first entered the BTCC in the early 90s with his father's Team Dynamics squad, having co-driven a BMW M3 to victory at the 1990 Willhire 24 Hour race at Snetterton. He won the Total Cup for drivers without manufacturer support in 1993, before joining Mazda for a season cut short by a huge crash in round five at Silverstone. He rejoined Dynamics for 1995, remaining for several years and occasionally humbled the big names, as well as winning the Independents' title three further times. In 1999 he caused a sensation by winning a race at Donington Park in his Nissan, the first Independent to do so in the modern era, winning him a £250,000 prize. He took a further win a year later.

The championship's regulations changed for 2001, and Neal briefly joined Peugeot before sitting out most of the season. He returned with Vauxhall in 2002 and Honda in 2003, finishing 3rd in the championship both times, before rejoining Dynamics (now with Halfords sponsorship and coming 5th in 2004.

For 2005 the team developed a Honda Integra from its basic road-going form, which was an unusual move as independent teams have historically raced ex-works cars, but he eventually took the drivers' title in the last round at Brands Hatch. It is also to be noted that Neal finished every single race in the points, the first driver to do so since the calendar expanded to 30 races per year.

Neal won his second BTCC title in 2006.

In 2006, Neal drove the #1 Honda Integra and captured the championship again with a string of consistent finishes; 4th place in round 28 being enough to clinch his second title. Ironically, after 2 years without a mechanical failure, Neal had a suspension failure before the start of the final race.

BTC-spec cars such as the Integra were no longer eligible for the main 2007 title, so Dynamics switched to a Honda Civic, using some of their existing running gear but doing development themselves. Neal won the third race of the season, but overall the SEAT and Vauxhall entries were faster, leaving Neal unable to fight for the title. A huge crash in race 1 of the second meeting at Brands Hatch left him briefly hospitalised; the lost points from this saw team-mate Gordon Shedden outpoint him to finish 3rd overall, with Neal 4th. He attracted controversy during the season's final race, in which Fabrizio Giovanardi and Jason Plato fought for the drivers' title. Having signed on as a Vauxhall driver for 2008, Neal let Vauxhall drivers Giovanardi and Tom Chilton through without a fight, but did not do the same for SEAT driver Plato, ensuring Giovanardi would win the title. Neal is known to not get along with Plato.

In his first year for VX Racing in 2008, Neal finished fifth in the standings, taking one win at Rockingham, while teammate Giovanardi retained his title. After a strong start to 2009, winning the opening race at Brands Hatch, he failed to win again all season, finishing fourth in the standings.

Neal returned to Team Dynamics for the 2010 season, now racing under the Honda Racing banner.

He now lives in Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire.

He has appeared on Top Gear, racing an Mitsubishi L300 motorhome in the tenth series.

In May 2009 he gave both the Beijing gold medallist and 2008 World Cycling Champion, Ed Clancy[2] and double World Cycling Champion, Rob Hayles, masterclasses around Oulton Park in a Vauxhall Astra 888 road car, prepared by Triple Eight Engineering – the team behind VX Racing.[3]

Fitness

Matt Neal has stated that he keeps fit through training in martial arts, which gives him better aerobic fitness and flexibility. In July 2009 Matt successfully achieved the grade of 1st dan black belt in the British Free Fighting Academy, after training with martial arts instructor Andy Hopwood.[4]

Racing Record

Complete BTCC Results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car Position Points
1991 Pyramid Motorsport BMW M3 SIL
England
SNE
England
DON
England
THR
England
SIL
England
BH
England
SIL
England
DON
England
OUL
England
BH
England
DON
England
THR
England
SIL
England
30th 0
13 Ret DNS
1992 Rimstock Racing BMW M3 SIL
England
THR
England
OUL
England
SNE
England
BH
England
DON
England
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
PEM
Wales
BH
England
DON
England
SIL
England
16th 5
14 Ret Ret Ret 8 13 11 Ret 7 Ret 15 11 10 Ret
BMW 318is 12
1993 Team Dynamics BMW 318is SIL
England
DON
England
SNE
England
DON
England
OUL
England
BHI
England
PEM
Wales
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
OUL
England
BHI
England
THR
England
DON
England
SIL
England
21st 3
8 Ret DNS 17 Ret 14 Ret 18 13 14 15 16 18
BMW 318i 19 13 14 17
1994 Team Mazda Mazda Xedos 6 THR
England
BHI
England
SNE
England
SIL
England
OUL
England
DON
England
BHGP
England
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
OUL
England
BHI
England
SIL
England
DON
England
23rd 1
12 15 17 10 15 DNS
1995 Team Dynamics Ford Mondeo Ghia DON
England
BHI
England
THR
England
SIL
England
OUL
England
BHGP
England
DON
England
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
BHI
England
SNE
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
21st 12
15 14 16 13 Ret 15 13 14 13 14 Ret DNS Ret Ret 14 9 13 15 12 15 4 13 11 17 11
1996 Team Dynamics Ford Mondeo Si DON
England
BHI
England
THR
England
SIL
England
OUL
England
SNE
England
BHGP
England
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
OUL
England
THR
England
DON
England
BHI
England
22nd 1
Ret 16 11 Ret 17 Ret Ret DNS Ret 17 14 13 13 14 10 18 14 Ret 12 13
1997 Team Dynamics Ford Mondeo DON
England
SIL
England
THR
England
BHI
England
OUL
England
DON
England
CRO
England
KNO
Scotland
SNE
England
THR
England
BHI
England
SIL
England
20th 0
Ret 12 Ret DNS 13 14 15 DNS 15 14
Nissan Primera eGT 16 13 13 Ret Ret DNS Ret 12 11 Ret Ret 16 14 12
1998 Team Dynamics Max Power Nissan Primera GT THR
England
SIL
England
DON
England
BHI
England
OUL
England
DON
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
THR
England
KNO
Scotland
BHI
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
13th 35
Ret 10 Ret 16 5 9 Ret 5 Ret 14 Ret 6 12 15 Ret Ret 12 Ret 8 Ret 9 5 12 7 DNS Ret
1999 Max Power Racing Team Dynamics Nissan Primera GT DON
England
SIL
England
THR
England
BHI
England
OUL
England
DON
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
THR
England
KNO
Scotland
BHI
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
9th 109
5 1 4 Ret 3 Ret Ret 3 10 2 9 7 10 5 7 10 6 Ret 7 Ret 5 10 6 10 Ret 6
2000 Team Dynamics Max Power Racing Nissan Primera GT BHGP
England
DON
England
THR
England
KNO
Scotland
OUL
England
SIL
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
DON
England
BHI
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
8th 129
10 Ret 8 8 7 Ret 4 5 6 9 4 Ret 3 3 5 8* 2 2 1 9 7 7* 5 7
2001 Peugeot Sport UK Peugeot 306 Coupe BHI
England
THR
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
MON
Republic of Ireland
DON
England
KNO
Scotland
SNE
England
CRO
England
OUL
England
SIL
England
DON
England
BHI
England
14th 11
6 5
2002 egg:sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe BHGP
England
OUL
England
THR
England
SIL
England
MON
Republic of Ireland
CRO
England
SNE
England
KNO
Scotland
BHI
England
DON
England
3rd 145
1 4 4 Ret* 2 3* 6 3* 1 3 Ret Ret Ret Ret* 1 4 4 8 3 Ret
2003 Honda Racing Honda Civic Type R MON
Republic of Ireland
BHI
England
THR
England
SIL
England
ROC
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
BHI
England
DON
England
OUL
England
3rd 148
Ret* Ret 1* 7 2* 11* Ret* Ret 1* Ret 1* 5* 4* 1* 4 Ret 1* 10 12 1*
2004 Computeach Racing with Halfords Honda Civic Type R THR
England
BHI
England
SIL
England
OUL
England
MON
Republic of Ireland
CRO
England
KNO
Scotland
BHGP
England
SNE
England
DON
England
5th 181
2 Ret 9 1* DNS 7 1* 8 8 3 4 2 4 10 Ret 3 5 Ret 9 2 8 1* 5 4 2 Ret 4 Ret Ret Ret
2005 Team Halfords Honda Integra Type-R DON
England
THR
England
BHI
England
OUL
England
CRO
England
MON
Republic of Ireland
SNE
England
KNO
Scotland
SIL
England
BHGP
England
1st 316
1* 3 1* 3 2 4 1* 1* 6 2 1* 2 3 6 2 3 3 7 3 3 4 2 1* 2 9 4 7 4 3 5
2006 Team Halfords Honda Integra Type-R BHI
England
MON
Republic of Ireland
OUL
England
THR
England
CRO
England
DON
England
SNE
England
KNO
Scotland
BHI
England
SIL
England
1st 289
3 3 Ret 1* 1* 3 4 1* 8 2 1* 2 3 1* 4 4 5 7 6 8 1* 2 5 1* 2 2 Ret 4 1* DNS
2007 Team Halfords Honda Civic BHI
England
ROC
England
THR
England
CRO
England
OUL
England
DON
England
SNE
England
BHI
England
KNO
Scotland
THR
England
4th 195
3 5 1* 5 Ret 7 5 2 5 3 13 6 4 4 Ret 3 4 2 18 2 2 Ret DNS DNS Ret 6 2* 5 3 5
2008 VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra BHI
England
ROC
England
DON
England
THR
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
OUL
England
KNO
Scotland
SIL
England
BHI
England
5th 185
5 7 3 3 11 1* 2 Ret 6 4 3 4 2 3 3 10 5 4 15 7 5 16 10 7 6 4 15 6 2 8
2009 VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra BHI
England
THR
England
DON
England
OUL
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
KNO
Scotland
SIL
England
ROC
England
BHGP
England
4th 170
1* 3 3 2 3 7 3 2 8 7 4 3 6 6 8 9 14 3 Ret 4 4 10 Ret 13 Ret NC Ret 5 8 5*
2010 Honda Racing Team Honda Civic THR
England
ROC
England
BHGP
England
OUL
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
SIL
England
KNO
Scotland
DON
England
BHI
England
2nd 229
12 2 Ret 1* 9 1* 5 Ret 2 8 2 1* 4 2* Ret Ret 9 3 8 5 4 4 1* 3 5 8 1* 3 2 Ret
2011 Honda Racing Team Honda Civic BHI
England
DON
England
THR
England
OUL
England
CRO
England
SNE
England
KNO
Scotland
ROC
England
BHGP
England
SIL
England
1st 257
Ret 7 1* 1* 3 7 2* 1* 5 8* Ret 4 1* 1* 7 18 17 4 2 2* 4 4 3 6 18 7 1* 1* 2 8

References

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
James Thompson
British Touring Car Champion
20052006
Succeeded by
Fabrizio Giovanardi
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
James Thompson
Autosport
National Racing Driver of the Year

2005
Succeeded by
Mike Conway

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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