Video: BTCC Legend Dices in Cortina

Those familiar with British Touring Car racing need no introduction to Matt Neal, but for those who don’t know the man, look at “>this. Neal’s a hard charger with quite a temper, and isn’t the type to back down from a fight, if it means getting spat out into the grass.

Even when placed in a priceless Lotus Cortina. Neal’s not exactly spitting fire here, but even when calm and composed, the gangly touring car champion is happy to show a series of clean overtakes with other pricey machinery. In a field of Minis and Cortinas driven by other BTCC drivers, there are plenty of nail-biting moments with expensive fenders just millimeters away from each other. These guys give no quarter.

No aids and classic tires make these Cortinas make them tricky. Photo credit: overdrive-uk.com

At Silverstone, the Cortina’s mere 180 horsepower is felt, and Neal has his work cut out trying conserve every bit of momentum he’s got. In dense traffic, that’s rarely easy. However, his motor seems to come on-song at the top end and blitz some of the Minis which likely have a traction advantage out of the slower corners, which would make sense considering their layouts.

Yet, Neal’s only able to exploit his power advantage by driving smoothly and neatly without overcooking it. In comparison to some of the others, Neal’s measured use of the throttle and planted backside give him a few mph at the end of the quicker portions of the famous track, which isn’t easy to do in something that slides that much! That little Cortina—switching from understeer to oversteer several times in the same corner—might not be the most powerful thing out there, but it does look like an absolute joy to drive.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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