DROITWICH team driver Matt Neal will contest a record-breaking 30th British Touring Car Championship season this year.

The three-time champion will race alongside team-mate Dan Cammish to set a best for any driver in the history of the national competition.

The Halfords Yuasa Racing ace, 53, said: “I can’t believe it’s my 30th year!

“It seems like only yesterday that I was competing in my first championship race and winning my first race and that now famous £250,000 cheque.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

“The championship continues to grow in stature, both in the UK and on a world platform and I take my hat off to Alan Gow for making that happen.

“The evolving regulations and the adoption of new technologies, like hybrid, fills me with excitement for what is coming downstream.

“Personally, I look back on my years in the BTCC and reflect a little on what could have been — several years I’ve missed out on the championship title by only a few points but that’s racing for you!

“But overall I look back with a wry grin on my face and feel honoured to have raced against some of the best drivers in the world, Nigel Mansell, Derek Warwick, Andy Rouse, Steve Soper, Yvan Muller and of course Jason (Plato), there are just too many to mention, but we have been graced with some amazing names and personalities over the years and I have gone head-to-head with them all.

“I go into 2020 as hungry as ever to win my fourth BTCC title and take it to Colin (Turkington) and of course my own team-mate Dan who continues to impress me with his driving aptitude. We work well as a team and I’d hope that I have played an influential part in developing him in his time in BTCC to be the driver he is today.

“Dan is undeniably quick and the old adage in motorsport is you always have to beat your team-mate first. So that will be the challenge this season.

“The Honda FK8 Type R is now a pretty potent package in its third season and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel testing again next month.

“With Honda, Halfords and Yuasa all partnering with us again for another season, as well as all our other supporting sponsors, we have the ingredients in place for an exciting year ahead. But will it be my last? We’ll have to wait and see!”

Dave Hodgetts, MD of Honda UK, said: “Matt continues to be a fantastic ambassador for Honda and our company philosophy where innovation, teamwork and a challenging spirit remain at the heart of our business.

“We have developed a great relationship with Matt during 10 consecutive seasons together in the BTCC and I very much look forward to more success for the Civic Type-R in 2020.”

James Hylton, MD of GS Yuasa Battery Sales UK Ltd, said: “What can I say? A great friend and driver, in our 10th anniversary year with the team, it seems only fitting that Matt is celebrating this amazing milestone.

“He has been one of the key factors in Yuasa supporting the team for so long and it’s great to see he still has the passion and desire to try and win this incredibly competitive championship.”

Andy Randall, MD of Halfords Autocentres, said: “In the short time I have known Matt he has been nothing but the ultimate professional both on and off the track.

“He has supported the business tremendously and I really hope he can get that elusive fourth drivers’ crown.”