BTCC History: BTC-T Honda Integra Type R

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Gordon Shedden drives the 2006 Halfords Team Dynamics Integra at Snetterton. Image thanks to Team Dynamics.

Any car which becomes the first of its kind to win a BTCC title in the modern era deserves its place in the history books. When that car is the much loved Team Dynamics Honda Integra Type-R, its place among modern BTCC history becomes cemented.

I know I’m not alone in listing the 2005/2006 BTC-T Honda Integra Type R as one of my favourite touring cars of the last two decades. Converted from a Honda Integra imported from Japan by Team Dynamics, the 2005 Integra became the first car run by a non-manufacturer team to win the outright BTCC drivers title, beating the dominant Vauxhalls run by Triple Eight, who had run rings around their opponents in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. 

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Dan Eaves in the BTC-T Honda Integra Type R. Image thanks to CAR Magazine.

Piloted by Matt Neal and Dan Eaves in ’05, and Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden in ’06 the car scored points in every single round of the 2005 season in the hands of eventual championship winner Matt Neal.

The BTC-T Honda Integra Type R was developed from a Honda Integra DC5 chassis, the fourth and final generation of Honda’s much-loved Integra sports coupe. First produced in Japan in 2001, production halted in 2006, eighteen months after it’s introduction to the BTCC.

Badged as the Acura RSX in the USA, the car went on to sell over 110,000 models in the US alone. The BTC-T spec Integra would run built to BTC-T specifications with an in-line four-cylinder 2000cc engine, front wheel drive and six-speed sequential manual transmission.

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Gordon Shedden drives the 2006 Halfords Team Dynamics Integra at Snetterton. Image thanks to BTCC.

BTC-T Honda Integra Type R Specifications

Chassis: Honda Integra DC5

Engine: In-line, four cylinder

Drive: Front wheel drive

Displacement: 2000cc

Transmission: X-trac Six-speed sequential

2005 – A Great Debut For The Honda Integra Type R In The BTCC

Known as Team Halfords due to their title sponsors, 2005 saw the Dynamics Honda Integra go up against the VX Racing Astras of Muller, Turkington and Gavin Smith, and the SEAT Sport UK’s SEAT Toledos of Jason Plato, James Pickford and Luke Hines. Limited to very little pre-season testing, the Team Dynamics Integra began the year in stunning form, winning seven out of the first nine races. The 2005 spec Integra would go on to win eleven out of thirty races over the course of the season, with the car scoring a further 25 podium finishes.

Matt Neal took six race wins at Donington Park, Brands Hatch Indy, Oulton Park and Knockhill, with his two race wins at Donington coming in the opening round of the year to further demonstrate the pace Dynamics had in the car. Eaves won five times, including a history-making run of three race victories in one day at Thruxton early in the season. Eaves became the first BTCC driver to win all three races in one day, and would also win at Croft and Brands Hatch GP later in the year.

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Neal (right) and Muller (left) came into contact twice in two races at Knockhill in 2005. The pair would win one race each that weekend before Collard took victory in race three. Image thanks to thecheckerflag.co.uk

The success achieved by the Team Dynamics Integras in 2005 was unbelievable, especially given the limited amount of preseason testing available and the level of competition from the manufacturer entries of Vauxhall and SEAT. The Honda Integra would complete a clean sweep of all available titles in 2005 with Team Dynamics wrapping up the drivers, teams, independent teams and independent drivers championships in what is one of the most successful debut seasons of any car in modern BTCC history. The only trophy the Integra didn’t win that year was the manufacturers, as Team Dynamics were not eligible.

Neal would eventually finish the 2005 season 43 points ahead of nearest championship rival Yvan Muller with Neal’s teammate Dan Eaves finishing third, four points behind Muller. In the teams championship, Team Halfords (Dynamics) finished on 575 points, 103 points clear of nearest rivals VX Racing.

2006 – More BTCC Success For The Honda Integra

Team Dynamics headed into the 2006 season with the Honda Integra their car of choice once again.

Matt Neal remained on board, but Dan Eaves left the team and was replaced by Gordon Shedden who would make his full-season BTCC debut. Shedden’s only previous BTCC experience had come in 2001, where he raced a GR Motorsport Ford Focus in the production class at Knockhill.

The season started strongly, as Neal won twice at Mondello Park and once at Oulton Park to register three race wins and five podiums from the first six races of the season. With stiff competition coming from SEAT’s Jason Plato and WSR’s Colin Turkkington, Neal would go on to win five more times in 2006, with victories coming at Thruxton, Croft, Snetterton Knockhill and Silverstone to surpass his win tally for the previous season.

Shedden also tasted success early on in the year with his first BTCC race victory coming in race seven of the season Oulton Park. He went on to win three more times, once at Thruxton and twice at Donington in a solid debut season in the BTCC.

Just like in 2005, the Team Dynamics Integras would go on to win eleven out of thirty races in 2006 as Matt Neal drove to a second consecutive BTCC title beating SEAT’s Jason Plato by 57 points. Gordon Shedden would finish the season in 4th place with 204 points after recovering from a tough start to the year. For the second year running, the car helped Team Dynamics to a clean sweep of all the available titles, with Team Halfords beating SEAT Sport UK to the teams championship by 94 points, and also winning the Independent drivers and teams titles.

For the 2007 season, Matt Neal and Gordon remained as drivers for Team Dynamics, but the team would no longer run the Honda Integra. Instead, the team switched to the Honda Civic Type-R, a model which the team continue to run to this day.

Two more ex-Team Dynamics Integras joined the grid for 2006, one in the hands of Mike Jordan at Eurotech Racing and one driven by David Pinkney of Motorbase Performance. Pinkney would finish the year with one podium in race two at Knockhill, but Mike Jordan would deliver one of the standout moments of the season with a victory in race three at Mondello Park.

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Mike Jordan driving an ex Team Dynamics Honda Integra at Brands Hatch in 2006. Image thanks to PSP Images.

Post 2006 the Honda Integra’s history outside of the running of Team Dynamics is less successful. Although all five BTC-T Honda Integra Type R chassis’ were race winners in the hands of Team Dynamics, the independent teams which the Integra was passed to for the 2007 – 2011 seasons were unable to match the car’s previous achievements. The Honda Integra remained a fixture on the BTCC grid until the end of the 2011 season in the hands of Lea Wood when it became ineligible to compete with the incoming set of 2012 NGCT/S200 regulations.

Although scoring a handful of podiums in the hands of Mike and Andrew Jordan in 2007 and 2008, the final BTC-T car touring car to race in the BTCC wasn’t able to replicate its championship winning form once again. However, the staggering results achieved during its first two years of competition in 2005 and 2006 ensures its place in modern BTCC history books.

I’ll always remember watching Matt Neal battling with Yvan Muller and Jason Plato in the ’05 and ’06 seasons, and for me at least, the BTC-T Honda Integra Type R will go down in my books as one of the most iconic touring cars I’ve seen.

If you’re interested in reading more about some of the BTCC’s most iconic cars, let me know which ones you’d like me to cover either by emailing me at thehairpincorner@zoho.com.

Secure a piece of BTCC history with a Team Dynamics model from Matt Neal’s 2006 title-winning season

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