Isle of Man TT legend, John McGuinness driving a BTCC Honda Civic Type R, versus British Touring Car Champion, Gordon Shedden riding a CBR1000RR Fireblade SP?! Yes, in a unique reversal of roles, this really did happen - Dunlop and Honda jointly hosted this shootout at Knockhill circuit earlier this week, where McGuinness and Shedden completed 30 laps of the Scottish track on each other's machine. Unfortunately, Dunlop and Honda have chosen not to release the two racers' actual lap times, only saying that they were "incredibly close" to each other.
"It was brilliant; I didn’t want to get out of the car to be honest. The first session all happened really fast but then I settled down into a groove. The whole mindset changes when you swap from what you know to something new, and I was a bit nervous, but we’re all racers and just want to go fast," said John. "It’s hard to see the apex, you’re strapped in tight, and it’s quite warm in there. You’re breathing in engine fumes and there are lots of rattles and bangs. It’s such a different world but I was shocked by how nice and precise it was. Dunlop put on some soft, sticky, amazing grippy tyres on the Honda Civic Type R and they gave me so much confidence to go fast," he added.
"It was absolutely out of this world. You maybe build a picture of what you think it’s like in your head, but nothing compares to it when you’re out there. It’s phenomenally fast but once you get used to it you learn to relax and get more confident. It was an absolute privilege to have a go," said Gordon. "It was the first time I’ve ever ridden on a slick tyre and I cannot believe the grip that the contact patch the size of a credit card can actually give you. It’s just absolutely mind blowing. The speed obviously is as you’d expect, the world passes by at a million miles an hour. I can only imagine what it’s like going round the TT course, and John is welcome to stay on that. Each stint I started to relax more and get more confidence in the grip that was available. The brakes on the race car are fantastic with four big slick tyres to hold the thing on, so you wouldn’t believe the bike would have the stopping capability that it does," he added.
Okay, so this was a bit of a PR-promo organised by Honda and Dunlop, and not a real shootout by any means. Also, not releasing the actual lap times is a bit of a bummer. Still, it's interesting to note that Mr McGuinness is also handy in a car. Not that we'd ever choose a Civic over a Fireblade, but still...